Love him or hate him, Donald Trump continues to make news. And, this week, Iowa has been part of his headlines. Yesterday, the Des Moines Register came out with an editorial asking the Republican presidential candidate to drop out of the race.
The move set off a flurry of talk about Des Moines and the state of Iowa as a whole. Is it the breadbasket of liberals? Or the bastion of conservatives?
Perhaps the latter, according to Wall Street Journal article published today called “Why Iowa May Be Fertile Ground for Donald Trump.” The writer, Dante Chinni, is the director of the American Communities Project at American University, which examines different types of communities across the U.S.
Chinni divides Iowa into distinct regions:
–Johnson County, the home of the University of Iowa in the state’s southeast is overwhelmingly Democratic in the general election and tends to favor the GOP establishment candidate in the Republican caucus. It favored Mitt Romney in 2012.
–Benton County, the rural, small-town county just northwest of Johnson, is switches parties from election to election and tends to favor conservative Republicans in the caucus – Rick Santorum in 2012.
–Sac County, an agricultural county in the northwest, is strongly Republican in the general election and also tends to favor conservative Republicans in the caucus – Mr. Santorum in 2012.
–Polk County, home of the capital Des Moines, is reliably Democratic in the general elections and tends to favor the establishment Republican candidate in the caucuses – Mr. Romney in 2012.
“It’s early and polls at this stage of the race don’t mean that much,” Chinni writes. “But, Mr. Trump is certainly generating interest in all four counties despite – and perhaps in part because of – his comments about other Republicans like Sen. John McCain. Mr. Trump derided the Arizona senator this past weekend for his Vietnam War record.”
“In other words, wipe those images of pastoral cornfields and stereotypes about the people living in them out of your mind. It may be that Iowa is a particularly good environment for Mr. Trump’s brand of brassy, populist showmanship.”
I was born in Pottawattamie County, which wasn’t one of the four counties studied, and, which would explain why I don’t have a clue about most issues. But I do try to keep up on all the talk.
I frequently listen to local talk station WCCO Radio, and, of course, much of the discussion has been about Trump and the Des Moines Register editorial. One of the hosts is married to a woman who grew up on an Iowa farm. He described Iowa as liberal in the cities but “red” in the more rural areas.
John Williams, who hosts the late afternoon show, said something on the issue that made me laugh. He said of Trump:
“I don’t know what’s going on inside his head—or inside his hair for that matter.”
I guess we’ll find out in tomorrow’s headlines.
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