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Assault on America, Day 391: Democrats aren’t the only ones counting on a yuge Iowa turnout

Trump in Iowa
If you know the outcome in advance of an endeavor, should you still bother to take part?

Not talking here about the ongoing impeachment fiasco in the Senate chamber in Washington DC, a political sideshow so boring and unstimulating that senators used fidget spinners and broke the “PAY ATTENTION AND SHUT UP OR ELSE!” rules (by using devices) in attempting to stay awake last week -- and even then, some of them succumbed to Mr. Sandman and nodded off. Sen. Rand Paul allegedly doodled a picture of the Capitol Building at one point… so you didn’t know he was an artist, too?

I was referring to the Iowa Caucuses, which are getting near enough (set for next Monday, February 3) to sense them and it’s not just because they’re to be held in the farm-fresh aromatic paradise that is the Hawkeye State. Much has been written and said about the too-close-to-call Democrat race, where the outcome is most definitely still in doubt. But on the GOP side, there’s really only one choice in the contest -- incumbent President Donald Trump -- and the Republican nominee-to-be isn’t wasting any time ensuring his practically uncontested Iowa “victory” is as impressive as he’d want it to be.

David M. Drucker wrote at The Washington Examiner, “Turnout in the Democratic caucuses should be sky high, motivated by a furious, up-for-grabs competition for the nomination being waged by a handful of top contenders. The Republican caucuses are expected to be a sleepy affair, typical when an incumbent popular with his party is running and there is no meaningful primary challenge. Trump, runner-up to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the contentious 2016 Iowa caucuses, will easily defeat his challengers, former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh and ex-Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

“The Iowa Republican Party is holding caucuses despite overwhelming support for Trump among GOP voters. Other state parties have decided to cancel their nominating contests.

“In coordination with the Republican National Committee, the Iowa GOP, and county affiliates across the state, Trump’s team is mobilizing prominent supporters, paid campaign staff, and a network of volunteers to maximize voter turnout for Trump and to test operations. In Iowa, impressed Republican officials described the effort as a dry run in the state for November.”

Iowa cancel the caucuses? No chance. While other states have indeed opted to save money by scratching their primaries, the first-in-the-nation state couldn’t do it and still retain its status as the initial say-so in every presidential nominating cycle. Imagine if the Hawkeye State powers-that-be elected to fold the caucus tents before the big event. The public relations hit would be brutal -- and somewhat deserved. Besides, there are ways to make it relevant in today’s political grunge factory. Trump is a worthwhile attraction all by himself and will draw tens of thousands.

And the Trump team certainly desires to certify all the instate “machinery” is working to maximum efficiency and there’s no better way to prove it then attempt to stir voters to participate in an already decided (in his favor) Iowa Caucuses. These are the people who come out even when they don’t have to -- the most motivated of the Republican lot -- the ones to depend on in the latter stages of the fall campaign to walk precincts, stuff envelopes, make reminder phone calls and post yard signs.

That’s all well and good. Good old-fashioned grassroots campaigning isn’t completely antiquated in our real-time digital world of home security cameras and smart bulbs that activate via smartphone app. Lots of people still appreciate human-to-human press-the-flesh traditional canvasing and we know by experience that direct mail is vital to every successful candidate’s undertaking. Going through the procedures on Caucus Night serves as a makeshift dress rehearsal for the “real thing” effort in November.

But for Trump, it’s more than that. Trump’s ultra-competitive nature wouldn’t allow the Democrats to steal all the thunder from the first-to-vote Iowa caucuses. The establishment media will fixate on whether Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders ends up the declared winner or if Pete Buttigieg or Elizabeth Warren do well enough to carry their campaigns forward. No one outside of Democrats and the most devoted of political followers will really care or pay attention to them in the long run, but most of the interest isn’t with Trump on that one particular night.

Logic also says the GOP turnout numbers won’t be anything like the liberal party (and its virtual silo full of candidates) will drum up. But it wouldn’t look very good for the Republican sites to be so silent one can hear snowmobiles roaring in the background and snow shovels scraping the ice off of Iowa’s sidewalks either.

November is the ultimate aim but February 3 is important too. From the standing-room-only attendance and overwhelming outpouring of affection at Trump’s recent rallies we garner that there’s a sizeable groundswell of emotion regarding Trump’s reelection efforts. People see what’s going on in Washington and the visceral reaction is to send in checks to Trump’s campaign and then look to see if the entertainer-in-chief himself is coming to an arena near them.

Impeachment won’t last much longer and as soon as the senate adjourns the atmosphere will return to regular election year politics. Congress certainly won’t be doing much the rest of the year either. The political well’s been poisoned beyond redemption by Nancy Pelosi’s and Adam Schiff’s selfish actions so it’s up to Trump’s executive pen and phone to move the government forward. And Mitch McConnell will push through a bevy of new judges, too.

But are the GOP masses ready to go out and vote? Iowa will reveal if the feeling is there to sustain what promises to be a very down and dirty fight to the political death with the Democrat nominee. Iowa went for Trump by nine points in 2016, but there’s no guarantee its electoral votes will remain with him this year. That’s why the Trump campaign machine had better perform well when the time comes. It’s a test to determine whether the one-to-one voter outreach is in place. It’s not a waste of money, either.

As a side note, it’s strange how two fairly solid red states -- and a toss-up purple state -- will heavily impact the Democrat race this year. Iowa would normally be labeled a “purple” state due to the fact it went for Barack Obama twice (in ’08 and ’12), but the midwestern regional political trends are steadily moving towards the GOP side. Meanwhile, South Carolina is about as red as they come… and even New Hampshire is competitive, having barely selected Hillary Clinton by less than 3000 votes (.4% total). Will it make all the difference?

Judging by the complete lack of coverage for Trump’s GOP “opponents” -- Bill Weld and Joe Walsh -- it’s conceivable, under the unique Iowa caucus format -- that Trump will receive 100 percent of the vote. Everyone with a brain knows Weld and Walsh have about the chance of an Iowa snowball in Hades of winning the nomination, but the media would make significant hay out of any slippage in a basically unchallenged election.

So-called “protest” votes would seemingly be limited in a caucus format, however. Even if a token few Republicans don’t like Trump or his job performance, they’d still need to show up at their caucus meeting site and go through the time-consuming process to express their displeasure. Who would bother devoting a few hours to nitpicking at Trump’s “behavior” and tweets and decorum and other stuff, all the while enduring a hailstorm of opposition from the throngs of the president’s devoted backers? Remember, only the most ardent and dedicated would attend an uncontested election/caucus. They’re not likely to take kindly to the smidgen of #NeverTrump boo birds who grandstand just to be counted.

How can Trump motivate his people? By keeping focus on the multitude of good things in his administration, continuing to define his would-be opponent, running against Pelosi, Schiff, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Democrat Congress and doing what he does best -- serving as the consummate political outsider battling the intractable DC swamp. Every hour Democrats talk about impeachment is one less they could be utilizing to tout their agenda, if indeed they have one.

Last week Trump became the first president to actually attend the annual March for Life in DC. What better way to set contrasts between a politician who truly believes in something versus a party that prefers prosecuting boring esoteric witch hunts over phone calls and policy differences? Trump doesn’t mince words either -- he said at the rally, “When we glimpse the image of a baby in the womb we see the majesty of God’s creation.”

Iowa conservatives understand what’s at stake, and here’s thinking they’ll come out on Caucus night to support Trump -- even though they already know he’ll win. They’ve stuck with him through the hardships from tenuous trade relations with China, too. Their fellow farmers in Ohio echo their views. Rob Crilly reported at The Washington Examiner, “China had a 12% tariff on imports of American pork but increased it by an extra 50 points as the two countries traded punitive levies. Economists at Iowa State University estimate the cost to producers at about $8 per animal.

“That puts a strain on farmers such as Heimerl, who employs 90 people and whose pigs are fattened at hundreds of facilities dotting from one side of the state almost to the other, at a time when he sees an opportunity. African swine fever is blamed for wiping out half of China’s national herd and driving up prices.

“’There's a lot of people banking on China,’ he said. ‘I hope it's not a long shot and that it is close to coming in.’ That means Trump and his hardball tactics retain his support, despite uncertainty about when ‘phase two’ [of a China trade deal] might happen. ‘I do give him credit,’ he said. ‘The problem with China didn’t happen overnight, and I guess he's not going to fix it overnight. Somebody has to stand up to China.’”

Yes, somebody does have to stand up to China, and Trump is doing it. And somebody must similarly stick up for American sovereignty on the southern border, support its military overseas and maintain a tight hold on commitments in Europe and Asia. Trump’s done all of those things. Has everything he’s done been a smashing success?

No. But Trump’s policies deserve time to take hold. The China trade deal (phase one) is just the beginning of a very long process to right the wrongs of the past. Decades of fluctuating and weak American trade policy inflicted tremendous damage to our country’s ability to compete in certain areas. Trump recognized it, made it a major part of his “Make America Great Again” campaign and is keeping up the fight.

Agricultural interests in places like Iowa and Ohio recognize administration policies are paying off. And that’s the reason why voters will show up on Caucus Night even if they already know the outcome. Like with the Democrat presidential hopefuls, Trump’s 2020 effort kicks off in Iowa. It’s the start of something good.

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