Gill: Iowa is Trump Country and Everybody Knows It

If there’s anything the Iowa State Fair proved last weekend, it’s that Iowa is Trump Country.

Each candidate made their pitch to voters and attempted to mingle with the crowd, but only President Trump could demand prolonged attention and respect. In fact, Trump’s presence was so palpably magnetic, it was like the other candidates weren’t even there.

And that matters for the primaries. The Iowa Caucuses are the first in the Republican Primary cycle, giving the state an outsized influence in the nomination process.

The contrast between Trump and the other candidates can’t be overstated. The President’s signature combination of animalistic charisma and personal charm is unbeatable: none of the other candidates can hold a candle to him.

For example, Nikki Haley at times went completely unnoticed. She said nothing memorable and wore a T-shirt that sounded like it was written by a Bush-era political consultant desperately trying to stay relevant (“Underestimate Me That’ll Be Fun” it said). Oddly enough, for her, one of the highlights of her visit was a picture of her son watching her speak. Perhaps that’s because he was one of the few people at the fair who did.

Mike Pence was humiliated several times, with fairgoers heckling him, calling him a traitor to President Trump. In another instance, Pence took Q&A from a crowd and was asked “How has life treated you since Tucker Carlson ruined your career?” After a long pause, he delivered a response nobody remembered.

But DeSantis suffered the most at the event. Twice – before Trump even touched down – the crowd’s eager anticipation of the President’s arrival was enough to upstage DeSantis. While the Governor was grilling pork and trying to relate to potential voters, Trump’s plane flew over the fairgrounds. The crowd ignored DeSantis, staring awestruck as Trump Force One made circles in the sky.

Then, as DeSantis was walking through a crowd of spectators, deafening chants of “We Love Trump!” erupted from the crowd. Again, Trump hadn’t even arrived yet.

And Iowans certainly do love Trump. When he finally landed, as has been widely reported, the crowd was both massive and exuberant. All attention was focused on Trump. Nobody could steal the President’s thunder. There were no hecklers who could get any attention. There were no corny political slogans. Just raw, unfiltered Trump. And the people loved it.

The events at the Fair were just an on-the-ground illustration of a political reality the polls have been telling us for months: Iowans want Trump.
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump is 27 points ahead of DeSantis in Iowa, and not a single other candidate polls in the double digits. Moreover, Trump’s lead on DeSantis has been widening: prior to July, he was above 20% in several polls. Now, he’s regularly in the teens.

The race isn’t close. At this point, Trump’s lead in Iowa is virtually impossible to overcome. Polls are clear. The people on the ground are clear. We all know it.

Iowa is Trump Country, and this weekend was a reminder that isn’t changing anytime soon.
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