The following article, Trump Pulls Out a Marker and Approaches Farmer's Combine, His Next Move Has Crowd Cheering, was first published on Flag And Cross.
When former President Donald Trump put his John Hancock on a John Deere combine on Sunday, it was more than a simple autograph.
It was a sign of how seriously Trump is taking the Iowa caucuses in the 2024 GOP primary race, aiming for an early victory in the first-in-the-nation test of candidate strength come mid-January.
And if the polls are right, Trump’s efforts are paying off — big time.
Dan Scavino Jr., senior adviser to the Trump campaign, posted a video to social media capturing the moment when Trump approached the combine, marker in hand. And the crowd cheered when he finished.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) October 1, 2023
Trump also took the opportunity to land a crack about President Joe Biden: “You think Biden could do that? I don’t think so.” Trump said as the crowd laughed.
And Scavino was far from the only one posting the scene:
— ShotGunBonnie (@ShotGun_Bonnie) October 2, 2023
JUST IN: PRESIDENT TRUMP makes a quick visit to a FAMILY FARM in Iowa..
Signs combine tractor, visits with locals.
— CBKNEWS (@CBKNEWS121) October 1, 2023
Note that Trump’s joke at the end was about Biden — not Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s nearest challenger in the GOP race, or any of the other Republican rivals.
Trump might be treating the presidential race like it’s already a two-man contest between himself and the doddering, Democratic incumbent, but the fact that he was doing it Sunday on an Iowa farm said it all.
Trump clearly means to win the Hawkeye State — preferably by big numbers to try to avoid a lengthy primary battle that could get more dangerous the longer it goes on.
In the last competitive GOP primary in 2016 (meaning no offense to all those 2020 supporters of William Weld and Joe Walsh supporters out there), Trump actually lost the Iowa caucuses to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz was also the last serious challenger to Trump for the nomination. (As The New York Times reported at the time, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich stayed in the campaign a day later than Cruz — on May 4, 2016 — but by then Kasich was largely a non-factor except for some admiring liberals and conservatives who thought of him just long enough to despise him.)
Clearly looking to avoid giving any of this year’s rivals a chance to get early momentum that could turn into a lingering in a race where he’s going to be fighting criminal charges while running for president at the same time, Trump is looking to lock up Iowa.
So far, he appears to be getting it done.
According to the polling site FiveThirtyEight, Trump led polls in September with spreads ranging from a low of 24 points (Sept. 19-21/Public Opinion Strategies) to a high of 35 points (Sept. 7-9/Emerson College).
The six polls listed give Trump an average lead of 29.6 percent, three-and-a-half months before Iowa’s caucuses convene Jan. 15. That’s the kind of extreme lead any candidate would be grateful for — and there’s no doubt Trump is. But it’s not keeping him from campaigning in the cornfields.
So as the Des Moines Register reported Sunday, Trump is stumping in Iowa, attacking Biden’s policies, downtalking Republicans challenging him for the nomination, and basically working hard to try to make the first-in-the-nation caucuses the last-in-the-Republican-primary-race contest.
At the very least, he’d probably want to dominate the field enough to convince the longest of the long-shot hopefuls to drop out.
The more Trump can treat the nomination like a foregone conclusion, the more he’ll be forcing his rivals to play catchup or look like nonentities (or both), the more he can focus on the White House, and the more time he has to fight the criminal cases against him.
But it all starts in Iowa.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.