OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump’s campaign “ground game” in Iowa has improved significantly since 2016 as the country’s first primary approaches on Tuesday, and he is “taking nothing for granted” this time around, according to a Friday report.
The Federalist noted that, four days out, “Donald Trump Jr. rallied the troops in suburban Des Moines on behalf of his frontrunner father,” adding that “motivation was a hard commodity to come by on a cold and gray January day, with the remnants of the first heavy snowstorm of the season mucking up the streets with dirty slush.”
That said, the outlet noted that “Hawkeye Cauci” folks “are hearty stock” and have regularly shown up to the event, some for more than 50 years, “and they take their role as first-in-the-nation ambassadors of the presidential nomination chase very seriously.”
The outlet noted further:
We’ll see just how serious Iowa’s Republican voters are come Monday, caucus day, when the high is expected to drop below zero. By 7 p.m. Iowa time, when this internationally watched political pageant gets underway, temperatures could plummet to as low as minus-15 degrees with a wind chill of Ouch!
But if the 2024 presidential campaign and the past eight years have taught us anything, it’s that there are people in this deeply divided republic who would crawl through broken glass, barbed wire, and solid ice to vote for the former president.
However, though Trump appears to be up by at least 50 points nationally over his rivals and some 35 points in Iowa, that doesn’t mean his campaign is “taking anything for granted,” the outlet reported.
“That’s why this Monday is so critical. We’ve got to send a message,” Don Jr. told around 80 Trump supporters at Urbandale’s Machine Shed restaurant this week at an event organized by the Des Moines Bull Moose Conservative Club.
“I understand it’s going to be minus-4, but if I can get my Florida butt back up here … everyone can get back up here,” he added.
The message from the Trump campaign is simple, The Federalist noted: Forget the polls and show up like the former president is trailing.
“We’ve got to treat Monday as if we’re 10 points back,” Trump Jr. said.
He suggested that the left, establishment Republicans, and the corporate media critical of Trump are relying on the hope that caucus-goers won’t turn out in large numbers, aiming to reduce the anticipated strong showing for the former president. The concern is that if Trump supporters assume victory is assured and the margin of victory is smaller, it could provide Trump’s opponents with a narrative to exploit in the lead-up to the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary next week.
“In short, Trump is beatable,” the outlet said.
His critics highlight the Iowa caucuses of 2016, a year when Trump made a significant impact on the political landscape but ended up in a tie for second place with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. Sen.Ted Cruz of Texas emerged as the winner in the caucuses during a more crowded field of candidates.
However, a lot has evolved over the past eight years. While Trump retains many of his distinctive traits, he enters the race as a considerably different candidate, the outlet noted. The outcome in Iowa, which turned out to be a victory for Cruz, ultimately had minimal impact. Trump continued on to secure the GOP nomination, win the presidency, and become the focal point of intense animosity from the left.
He’s now a battle-tested candidate, arguably carrying more political scars than any previous presidential nominee in the nation’s history.
“Moreover, the Trump ground game in Iowa is significantly improved, more nimble, and much better organized than it was during his first presidential run. It’s so good, in fact, Trump can’t even seem to believe it,” The Federalist reported.
“I was with the president all last week, and he asked me that exact question (about whether the ground game has improved since 2016), and I told him it’s the difference between night and day,” said Iowa state Sen. Brad Zaun of Des Moines, a Republican was the first Iowa elected official to endorse Trump in 2016 and again this year.