NPR on Trump’s ground game in Iowa
At a recent Trump rally at a Sioux City high school, loudspeakers blasted an unofficial head-banging campaign anthem by Twisted Sister, to pump up the crowd for the candidate who wouldn’t speak for another hour.
As people arrived, volunteers worked the parking lot and sidewalks asking attendees if they would “like to help with the caucus” and “help talk to your friends and neighbors about coming out on Feb. 1 to caucus for Donald Trump?”
“Not sure yet,” one voter replied.
At this point, most Iowans haven’t made a final decision either — but having their names in a campaign database is critical to a candidate who hopes to win them over.
Inside the rally, still awaiting Trump, the focus turns to caucus night, and getting ready for February weather.
“Are you prepared? Do you have a backup plan if there’s a blizzard?” asks Tana Goertz, an Iowa native who starred on Trump’s hit TV show The Apprentice. She’s now his Iowa campaign co-chairwoman.
“If there’s high winds, how’s your grandma gonna get to the caucus? You better say you’re taking her, right? Raise your hand if you’re bringing somebody to the caucus,” she continued.
The question about Trump from the beginning was whether this was a real campaign. But here in Iowa, he hired top staffers who know how to run a caucus. He’s doing the things serious candidates do.
“The Trump campaign does have a real organization and they have really savvy operatives,” said John Stineman, a veteran Iowa GOP strategist. “And my understanding is that they have a pretty robust data operation as well.”
This vignette demonstrates why I predict that Trump’s heavily attended rallies, way beyond any other candidate, are going to translate into much better results in the caucuses than are predicted by the polls.