“Every day as I travel this country, people stop me, and they say, ‘I’m a Democrat. I voted for Barack Obama. And this isn’t working. I’m with you.’“Washington thinks the core of our base is very different from who they are. The core of our political base are the Reagan Democrats. They are the blue collar Catholics across the Midwest and up in New England. They are union members, gun owners, pro-life, strong national defense. They are truck drivers and mechanics and electricians and plumbers and schoolteachers and nurses and waiters and waitresses.“They’re working men and women who are getting hammered by the Obama economy. And they’re tired of the Washington elites who are not fighting for the working men and women in this country. That’s how we win in November of 2016.”
Mr. Trump commands the support of 35 percent of Republican primary voters, leading his closest competitors, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (16 percent) and Ben Carson (13 percent) by a more than 2-to-1 margin. While Mr. Carson’s support was cut in half since the last time The Times and CBS News polled on the race in late October, Mr. Cruz has quadrupled his share. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida’s support stands at 9 percent.
He attacks a regular cast of villains including undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, his GOP rivals and the media. He keeps the narrative arc of each controversy alive with an endless stream of statements, an unwillingness to back down even when he has misstated the facts — and a string of attacks against those who criticize him. All the while, his supporters see a truth-talking problem solver unlike the traditional politicians who have let them down.
Trump’s strategy relies more on expanding the caucus electorate, while Cruz is taking the more traditional route and rolling up key Iowa endorsers and validators like Rep. Steve King….the [Trump] campaign is bringing new voters into the process. Many of their supporters are first-time caucus-goers who aren’t necessarily polled. The challenge, of course, is to make sure those would-be voters show up on February 1.
“If they don’t treat me as the front-runner — by far the front-runner — if the playing field is not level, then certainly all options are open…But that’s nothing I want to do….We’ll go through the primaries, we’ll see what happens and I’ll make a determination.”
The Republican establishment is now all upset with Trump, but he is simply the revenge of a Republican base that took its leaders’ pandering — on Islam and a host of other issues — seriously.