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Trump at the Iowa State Fair: Campaigning between butter and cows

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Status: 08/13/2023 06:35 am

The Iowa State Fair is one of America’s largest, oldest and most popular agricultural fairs — and the place to get votes. That’s why Donald Trump wasn’t the only one there.

A visit to the “pork tent”, a hall revolving around everything, a flying visit to an animal center and a small talk in a beer bar full of happy fans: that’s all it took to show that there was only one. Donald Trump is a politician who brings people together.

More than 100,000 day visitors to the fair did not notice Trump’s visit. In the scorching sun, they were busy working on a large number of attractions: the huge animal stables, where local farmers kept freshly dried cows, pigs and sheep, the famous butter cow, all kinds of agricultural equipment, the Ferris wheel and the cable car. In addition, there are unmanageable foods, often fried and stuck on a slide – from chocolate bars to cutlets corn dogs, a batter a sausage.

Make a strong impact

But Trump’s rivals in the race for the presidency should have taken the signal — especially Ron DeSantis, who, while trailing Trump in the polls, is far ahead of the likes of Nikki Haley, Mike Pence and Vivek Ramasamy. They have been touring Iowa for weeks, where the first primary of the election year takes place on Jan. 15. They all want to make a strong impact on the three million people who live in the Midwest and prevent Trump from leaving an insurmountable gap in the first meeting.

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It’s not like the friendly people of Iowa won’t listen: Vivek Ramasamy, a wealthy young biotech entrepreneur, drew a sizable crowd to the fairgrounds as early as 8:30 a.m., where Iowa Govt. Kim Reynolds invited him for a chat.

Ramasamy, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to end collective dependence on China. He thinks climate change is an invention and wants to lay off thousands of government workers in Washington. That’s important.

After the show, Katie, a young nurse from Iowa, likes his enthusiasm and his pride in his country. Even if Ramasamy doesn’t win now, he can get a good starting position for the next election campaign.

DeSantis is not as electrifying as Trump

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is trailing Ramaswamy in polls and far behind Trump, seems much less satisfied. DeSantis plans to visit every county in Iowa. However, his performances at the State Fair did not make him a big hit. During the conversation with Governor Reynolds, LGBTQ activists blew whistles and cowbells. And during the exhibit’s tour, Trump supporters harassed him.

DeSantis travels with a dynamic group. No other candidate is so well prepared. But he didn’t electrify his audience like Trump, who drew crowds behind him during his short visit.

DeSantis and Trump don’t have a “soap box.”

Both DeSantis and Trump stepped away from the traditional “soap box” popularized by local newspaper the Des Moines Register. For 20 years, candidates have climbed a small stage and have twenty minutes to present themselves to the audience, which – depending on the candidate’s importance – sits on a few folding chairs or stands in dense clusters around a small lawn. Speakers have no protection from rain and sun; Yet before critical election years, almost everyone stops there. Bernie Sanders, the white-haired Vermont senator, drew the largest crowd ever, says Carol Hunter, the paper’s editor-in-chief.

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Mike Pence didn’t show up on the first day of the show. The former vice president is lagging far behind in the polls, but he’s fighting — and that’s going down well with viewers. If someone asks him why he committed treason on January 6th, the questioner gets angry, not Pence. That day he had to choose between former President Trump and the Constitution. He chose the Constitution.

The downtrodden also present themselves

Many of the Republican candidates failed to fill rows of folding chairs. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez or Illinois businessman Perry Johnson. On the other hand, the two Democrats who wanted to run against Joe Biden had charismatic appeal: Marianne Williamson, a book editor, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. received friendly praise.

The Iowa State Fair is one of America’s largest, oldest and most popular agricultural fairs. More than a million people visit over ten days in August. That means every third resident of the state is stopped.

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