Donald Trump is a rule-breaker, a status-quo buster, and a defiler of political conventions who channels the public’s mad-as-hell hunger for change. To borrow a cliché from Silicon Valley, “The Donald” is a disrupter.
Despite grave misgivings about his character, rhetoric, and policies, I appreciate Trump’s deft reading of the public mood. I understand why his supporters are drawn to a butt-kicker (here and here). I share their desire for radical reform or destruction of the two major parties and other political institutions that have failed to adapt to an era of wrenching change (more on that here).
In Iowa, however, I’m seeing effects of Trump’s disruption that concern me. If, as I suspect, the Republican presidential front-runner is a reflection of the times and not an outlier, the Iowa caucuses may be as outdated as a fax machine.
“I’ve been wrestling with that, too,” said Matt Strawn, a former chairman of the Iowa GOP who I met for drinks a few blocks from the gilded-dome statehouse. “A lot of his supporters aren’t people who you’d traditionally expect to come to caucuses. It’s a good thing that he’s expanding our voting base.”