I have a story to tell you about Donald Trump and his loss in Iowa. Actually, I have several up-close-and-personal stories to share with you that both explain Trump’s loss on Monday night and render it meaningless.
First, Trump was never going to win Iowa. Iowa does not represent America. If it did, we’d be talking about Presidents Huckabee and Santorum. Reagan lost Iowa, then went on to win 44 other GOP primaries to sweep to victory in a landslide.
Iowa is meaningless in the scheme of the national GOP presidential nomination.
Here’s up close and personal story number one. Recently, I had three Las Vegas-based union construction workers in my home. All normally vote Democrat. Today, all three support Donald Trump. That’s the beauty of Trump. He expands the tent to include working class voters no other Republican can attract. They don’t just vote for Trump, they get excited about him.
The Iowa caucus isn’t filled with working class Joes. It’s dominated by serious church-going, ultra-conservative, evangelical Christians who make social issues their number one priority. They prefer candidates who can quote scripture. That’s not Trump. That’s not Trump’s crowd. Ted Cruz is the home team in Iowa.
But now the scene shifts. Now we head to Donald’s home turf: working class America. As an S.O.B. (son of a butcher), it’s a group I understand well. Most middle class Americans are common sense conservatives (but not so much about social issues), and religious (but not super religious). Trump's qualities appeal to them: raw honesty, political incorrectness, common sense, world-class energy, can-do spirit, and a larger-than-life personality.
Barry Goldwater had great conservative principles and policies, but his personality never appealed to working class voters.
Ronald Reagan took Goldwater’s policies and re-packaged them with a larger-than-life personality and a large dose of energy and charisma. Suddenly those same policies appealed to working class voters.
Goldwater lost in a landslide. Reagan won in two landslides. The raw truth is politics is show business.
For 30 years conservatives have searched desperately for another Reagan. What the GOP conservative movement needs to win presidential elections is part conservative candidate… part entertainer… part celebrity… part salesman… part capitalist businessman…all wrapped up with world class energy and personality.
Does that sound like someone we all know?
Trump is certainly not the perfect principled conservative who is valued by Iowa’s voters. But he is the perfect GOP weapon for the rest of middle class and working class America.
In this age of “American Idol” his style and personality opens the GOP tent to millions of atypical Republican voters. People who either voted for Democrats, or did not vote at all in recent elections.
In his home state of New York Trump puts working class neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island in play for the GOP. He wins upstate New York in a landslide. But New York is only the start.
I believe that Trump can win Pennsylvania, Michigan and even Ohio, too. These states are filled with middle and working class voters that dig Trump’s personality, celebrity and politically-incorrect style.
If Trump wins just a couple of these blue-collar, lunch-bucket, “working-stiff” states, he’s destroyed the Democratic Party.
Recently, I was honored to serve as the opening speaker and Master of Ceremonies for two Donald Trump rallies in front of thousands of Las Vegans. I experienced the "Trump Revolution of Working Class Stiffs" up close and personal. You can watch my speech here:
As with all Trump events this one was filled with blue dog Reagan Democrats, independents and disaffected voters. Why? Because he speaks for them. He says what they are thinking. He energizes them. The middle class is being murdered…they see it, feel it, are living it.
People are angry and enraged because they know the deck is stacked against them. They know their government is not just failing them…it is actively working AGAINST them.
They know Trump will fight for them and it gives them hope. He may not be the cup of tea for ultra-conservative, ultra-religious voters in Iowa, but he is attractive to common sense “lunch bucket voters” across the rest of America.
Trump is a new kind of Republican. The kind that fights hard and talks tough. The kind that will lead a citizen revolution of working men and women of the great American middle class to “Make America Great Again.”
Did Trump play Iowa perfectly? Of course not. His ground game was weak. That’s a mistake that has to be corrected.
He never should have skipped the Fox News debate. That obviously didn’t sit well with Iowans.
And he never should have bragged about getting along with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Conservatives aren't looking for a president to play nice with the people whose radical leftist agenda is killing jobs and the middle class quality of life. We could elect Jeb Bush to do that.
Trump must learn from those mistakes.
Pointing to his loss in Iowa, the media, elitists, intellectuals and establishment GOP all warned Ronald Reagan was too extreme, and couldn’t win a general election. It wasn’t true then and I don’t believe it’s true now.
We’ve been looking for another Reagan with the personality, celebrity and working class appeal to expand the tent. And I believe we’ve found one.
The next few weeks in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada will show if Trump truly is the candidate who can bring working class stiffs into the GOP tent.
I’m betting he can.