Thousands of people are expected to stream into an events center here on the banks of the Mississippi River on Tuesday to see Donald Trump. When they do, his presidential campaign will be waiting, looking to convert casual gawkers into hardcore supporters who will cast votes for the billionaire presidential candidate in the Iowa caucuses next year.
The Republican frontrunner’s surging campaign is largely viewed as powered by his personal celebrity and his persistent presence on television. But there’s another political upside to being one of the most famous men in America: You don’t have to go knocking door-to-door to find voters. They come to you.
When those voters enter the Grand River Center on Tuesday evening, they will immediately be diverted to tables where Trump’s staff will recruit them to be county precinct captains, organizers, and volunteers. It’s a huge competitive advantage in a presidential race where other Republican candidates at times struggle to attract crowds in the hundreds.
It’s another reason, beyond strong poll numbers, why Trump’s candidacy is being viewed with increasing seriousness both inside and outside Iowa, which holds one of the earliest nominating contests in 2016.
I have been one of many political observers who thought for the longest time that Donald Trump has been amusing himself by driving the GOP establishment crazy. It has been, and still is to some extent, my contention that Trump’s biggest competition in this race is his own attention span. Perversely, I think the negative reaction from the establishment types is precisely what is making him pay attention longer.
The first several weeks of this Trump GOP roller coaster ride were obviously just for fun, he really wasn’t saying or doing much specific then. Now he seems to be planning. Of course, he can afford to plan and make the others work harder, spend more, and just be miserable, and still exit the race simply because he’s bored.
That’s what really gets the old guard.
Like many recent articles, this Reuters piece mentions the Giuliani and Thompson flashes in the pan from 2008. There are a couple of differences with Trump so far, however. He doesn’t seem to take his front-runner status for granted like Rudy did (and Jeb did until Trump took it from him), and, quite the opposite of Thompson in 2008, Trump is enjoying himself.
It is far too early in this race to make a heavy bet, but there are probably a lot more people thinking about going all-in on Trump than there were a month ago.