Via MFP and the Right Pundit, a neat example of Trump’s charm on display yesterday in Sioux City. He’s no longer questioning whether Carson’s lead in the state is real, apparently, which left him with a few ways he could respond. He could tear into Carson, which is risky given how well-liked Carson is. He could give up on the state and focus on New Hampshire instead, declaring Iowans a bunch of losers or whatever. Or he could do this, teasing them about his downturn and slyly goofing on his own image as a man who accepts nothing less than total victory when he competes. If I lose, he kids them, “I’ll never speak to you people again.” Nearly everything he says here, from harping on his own poll trouble lately to jokingly threatening to hold it against voters if they don’t support him, is unthinkable from a traditional politician. (Try to imagine this guy doing this shtick.) It reminded me of Megyn Kelly hitting him with that question at the first debate about disparaging women and Trump responding, without missing a beat, that he was only talking about Rosie O’Donnell. In both cases, even at a moment when he’s at a disadvantage, Trump is shrewd enough to handle it in a way that reminds everyone how different he is from all of the polished Washington slicksters in the field. Then, to top it off, he showed the crowd that he’s not always in 24/7 blowhard mode by stepping down from the podium to speak to a wounded veteran face to face about the VA. (That’s the third clip below.) Only Trump himself knows how much of his political image is calculated and how much is instinct, but if it’s instinct, those instincts are pretty good for someone who’s never won an election before.
He’s putting these rallies to good use too:
Mr. Trump has one of Iowa’s best organizers of grass-roots conservatives behind his state effort, Chuck Laudner. There are a dozen paid members of his field staff, more than any other Republican candidate. At his large rallies, volunteers harvest contact information. The campaign recently began training supporters how to caucus.
“Laudner is a master organizer,’’ said a strategist for a rival Republican candidate. “If they keep drawing a few hundred in places like Storm Lake, Atlantic, Carroll, Manchester and places like this, they can absolutely pull off a win here.’’
“Another way to look at it is this,’’ the strategist added. “If he’s dropping in the polls, but comes in strong at the end and wins Iowa, look out. And it could happen.’’
Expanding the electorate to turn out the blue-collar Republicans who didn’t show up for Romney is indeed the way Trump wins, and his team knows it. That’s one thing to bear in mind with all polls going forward, especially polls of likely voters: Who is and isn’t a “likely voter” may be less certain this cycle because of Trump’s X factor. If he really is making strides in getting disaffected people to vote then all of the polls are understating his support.