Nebraska attorney David Begley has been our intrepid and prolific reporter covering the appearances of the presidential candidates in Iowa in advance of the caucuses tomorrow night. When Donald Trump visited Council Bluffs this afternoon, Dave was on hand. C-SPAN was too; I’ve embedded the C-SPAN video below. Given the iron law of time and the calendar, I’m guessing this will be Dave’s final report from Iowa for us this time around:
I attended Donald Trump’s event in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Sunday afternoon. This was my third time seeing him in person. My last report is here. Given the importance of this election and my time spent covering and analyzing it, I think I owe readers my honest and unvarnished view. It will not be popular with some, but please read this carefully and reflect on it. We are in the realm of opinion. Reasonable people can disagree on candidates.
Two things at the outset. Trump always draws a massive media crowd. I was interviewed by Israeli TV on the way in the door. I identified my association with Power Line to the reporter. I also had an informal chat with Paul Lewis of Britain’s Guardian. Trump always bashes the media. Today it was “the media are among the most dishonest people I have met in my life.” The other thing is that the audience was from many states. Other than Iowa and Nebraska, I knew of people from five states with one group of kids from Ohio.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. of Liberty University introduced Trump and interviewed him. That was the main point of the rally: To boost Trump’s standing with evangelicals. The other pitch was that Trump is electable. Falwell ended the event by asserting that “we could lose our country unless we choose a man who is electable.” Trump claimed he would win New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan along with a large Hispanic vote.
Falwell started out by stating that Liberty University was nearly bankrupt until the best people were brought in to right the ship. These men may not have been perfect Christians, but they did the job. His analogy was going to the most qualified doctor in time of illness. This assertion inoculates Trump from some of his own conduct that some might consider unchristian. Likewise, we need Trump and associates to turn this country around. I call this the “Top Men” fallacy and Trump uses it constantly.
Falwell lost all credibility with me when he asserted that Liberty University – unlike unnamed competitors – cannot be persuaded to change curriculum in consideration for donations. Obviously he is unfamiliar with how the Jesuits run their schools. My family has been associated with Creighton University for nearly a century and its former president, the late John P. Schlegel, S.J., was a great friend of mine. Under no circumstances would Fr. Schlegel ever accept any money with strings attached that departed from Creighton’s core values. Falwell later went on to compare Trump to his late father. Trump is also great like Reagan as he allegedly can draw Democrat and independent voters.
Trump bashed Cruz and played the Canada card. For the crime of low interest rates on some loans, Ted is supposedly in the pocket of Wall Street. “They” are investigating his Iowa mailer.
He discussed his poll numbers as usual and his endorsements. A check for $100,000 was delivered to a group that supplies dogs for needy vets. The rest of his message was he will make America great again by building a wall and negotiating great deals. His wife and daughter appeared on stage and agreed that would happen.
There is much I admire about Donald Trump. I also agree with him on many issues such as immigration and trade. But Hillary Clinton must not be President. Therefore the question of electability is paramount.
In December 2015, Omaha-based Gallup found that Trump had a net unfavorable score of negative 27; by far the largest number of all the candidates. Bear in mind that this is before the MSM and the Democrats have begun any serious media campaign against him.
Barack Obama reportedly won the 2012 election due to his campaign’s mastery of Big Data. Hillary Clinton and the DNC have access to that data. It cost a fortune to build and they will use it effectively.
The Democrats will make a series of short videos and post them to Facebook, Google, Twitter, You Tube and Instagram. The videos will be microtargeted to the right demographic. Big Data makes it easy to target voters. My view is that the mother lode is on immigration and that the MSM will attack Trump’s (or his subcontractors) use of illegal alien labor in the hotel, golf course, restaurant and construction industries. Social media will amplify this MSM attack. The MSM ignore social media and the use of Big Data because Facebook and Google are eating their lunch on ad dollars. That’s why you don’t read much about how the campaigns use it to win elections.
Trump’s coarse and at times outlandish language and behavior can only drive his unfavorable numbers even higher. Jean Kaufman, for example, has written about Trump and eminent domain here. Kelo is practically a litmus test for conservatives and Trump is on the other side.
Think about what the Dems did to that fine man who is Mitt Romney. When the Dems got finished with Mitt, many thought he was a heartless murderer. A false accusation, to be sure, but it worked. In my opinion, the anti-Trump social media videos will result in a landslide loss for the GOP.
The GOP must win this election. Trump is not electable. Vote for a candidate in the primaries who can win in November. You have a number of good candidates to select.