THE SHIRTLESS MAJORITY: Trump fans at Barton Coliseum
is leading the polls in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on Tuesday. He's probably going to win. And despite all the media hype for Bronze Medal Marco
, a strong second-place finish in Iowa followed by a win in New Hampshire would be a very impressive opening for Trump: An unthinkable turn of events a year ago, Trump would be the frontrunner.
But if Trump doesn't
win in New Hampshire? That could spell real trouble for the reality television star's bid for the nomination. He'd still be near the top in terms of delegates, but given how invested his narrative is in being a winner, he's going to have to win a state or risk the bursting of his bubble. Campaigns do sometimes collapse rather suddenly (see Dean, Howard).
Under the circumstances (and given that Trump's relatively weak ground game in Iowa may have contributed to under-performing his polls), Trump should be spending every minute traversing New Hampshire this week. It's just downright strange that he took a detour to arrive late and give a rambling speech in Little Rock, Arkansas — where the primary is a month away and the state probably isn't a particularly important target for Team Donald.
The Wasington Post reports
on Trump's zig south while his rivals zag up north:
Six days before voting takes place in New Hampshire, Trump was in Arkansas — far from the traditional campaign trail. While most other candidates have entered a holding pattern in the Granite State ahead of Tuesday’s primary there, Trump made a notable detour to address an oversized arena with thousands of cheering supporters in Little Rock.
“Oh, I love it. I love it,” Trump said from the stage with a heavy sigh, soaking in the crowd’s energy. “All over the country this is happening, folks. All over the country.”
The event was part of Trump’s long-range plan to look beyond the early-voting states — such as Iowa, where he came in second to Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) on Monday — and toward a series of contests, largely in the South, that will allow GOP candidates to rack up delegates March 1 and beyond.
It also allows Trump to restore the luster of a campaign that has come under scrutiny in the wake of his finish in Iowa, where he had been shown leading in the polls. In Arkansas on Wednesday, Trump was once again center stage as this election’s most magnetic showman.