MAGA Meetups Hope to Lay the Groundwork for Iowa Success

Posted: September 16, 2019 | By: John Altendorf and Runal A. Patel Tagged: Blog

DES MOINES, Iowa — As Democrats across Iowa and the country prepare for the upcoming Iowa precinct caucuses in February, little attention has been paid to the state of Iowa Republicans by national media. But the Trump Victory Iowa team is trying to make its presence known early.

Drake University College Republicans hosted one of two watch parties called “MAGA Meetups” on Monday night in conjunction with Polk County Republicans for the rally that President Donald Trump held in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in support of the special election there. The crowd of approximately 10 people featured students and community members, all there to support the re-election of President Trump.

Throughout the rally, President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both reiterated a Trump campaign slogan by saying, “promises made, promises kept”. The president and the vice president both listed examples of their administration’s achievements during the first term and explained that unless voters in North Carolina supported the Republican in the special election there and the president in his 2020 re-election effort, the progress that had been made over the last two and a half years would be lost.

Cole Kramersmeier, a field director for the Trump campaign, plans to continue holding events like this one more frequently in the lead up to the election. Kramersmeier explained that it allows isolated Trump supporters to find a community and witness a ‘famous Trump rally.’”

According to Kramersmeier, the president’s Iowa campaign is “set up as a tiered system with field organizers and neighborhood team leaders using a dispersed approach.” Kramersmeier explained that this approach “will allow the campaign to build community early.” The event held Monday was one example of that grassroots strategy that the Trump campaign says they’re using in Iowa: looking to engage Iowans at the most local of levels.

Ryan Sleister, a first-year student at Drake who attended the watch party, said that he thought the president was doing “a pretty good job” and that his first term was “a lot better than he [I] had expected.” Students like Sleister are just the kind of people that the Trump campaign seeks to find as they gear up for the president’s re-election effort. The campaign is offering internships doing everything from door knocking to communications work, and even working with data research. If Drake students are interested in jumping on board, Kramersmeier says the internships are posted on Handshake.

While the Trump campaign is focused on themselves at the moment, a low tier of Republican candidates is trying to create fissures in their campaign strategy. At this point, there have been three candidates who have joined the race for the Republican nomination in a primary challenge against President Trump. These candidates, Governors Bill Weld, Mark Sanford, and Representative Tom Walsh, each aim to challenge the president’s incumbent position in the White House. But Kramersmeier says that the Trump team isn’t worried.

“It’s healthy to have others enter the race, and the campaign welcomes it,” Kramersmeier said. “Every poll shows Trump with great popularity among Republicans and great retention of voters who want to vote him into a second term. The Iowa caucus is a tradition that will set the tone and tenor for the country even if the race is virtually uncontested.”

While the Trump campaign is showing confidence in their early Iowa build up, they still have hurdles to cross. These include, but are not limited to, the pending passage of the United States – Mexico – Canada (USMCA) trade agreement and newly introduced Renewable Fuel Standards rules that could leave his rural strongholds vulnerable. Furthermore, the campaign will need a better Republican showing then was seen in the 2018 midterms. As Democrats focus on electability in their quest to defeat Trump, the Trump campaign and the Republican party are looking to keep Iowa in its win column for a second election cycle.