Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is Donald Trump for Real?

The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

At the Washington Post, "Is Donald Trump for real? We’ll start getting an answer in Iowa":
DUBUQUE, Iowa — As Republican front-runner Donald Trump arrived in Iowa this weekend for a final burst of campaigning ahead of the Monday caucuses, he did so in his usual over-the-top fashion: rolling his jet to a stop in front of an airport hangar filled with supporters in this eastern Iowa river town.

The arrival — set to the theme song from the movie “Air Force One” — captured the surreal theatrics that have defined Trump’s candidacy, attracting attention in a way that prompts many to ask: “Is this for real? Is he for real?”

In any other election year, with any other candidate, Trump’s consistently high poll numbers and massive rally crowds would earn him the title of presumed nominee. But this year is unlike any other and Trump is unlike any other GOP candidate — a thrice-married billionaire real estate developer who has never held elected office, wears white shoes to the Iowa State Fair, curses at his rallies and gives rides to children in his Trump-emblazoned helicopter.

Yet Trump is on the cusp of something historic: A candidate who has broken nearly every rule of traditional campaigning is favored to win the Iowa caucuses and several primary contests to follow. The prospect has continued to baffle political pundits, strategists and party leaders, many of whom don’t seem to want to believe what is happening until they see some proof. The Monday caucuses provide Trump with the opportunity to provide some.

“It’s very frustrating because if anybody had the numbers and the turnout and the support that Donald Trump has, I don’t think the media would have any problem saying the normal stuff — that he’s a shoo-in,” said Ted Hacker, 39, who lives in Dubuque and started a trucking company with his wife a year ago. He plans to caucus for the first time on Monday, casting his vote for Trump in hopes of proving that the candidate’s supporters aren’t just fans looking to be entertained. “It’s very frustrating.”
It's all about the turnout, and after reading that piece from Sasha Issenberg, I'm even less sure about Iowa than ever. It's crazy!

But keep reading.