Trumpism is here to stay: How The Donald has reimagined the U.S. election in his own image

Brice Hall/National PostBrice Hall/National Post

I did not intend to focus on . When I set out to cover the presidential race four weeks ago, I believed, like most people did, he was a passing fad: a punch line to a joke that didn’t realize it was already done. I thought I’d do a grand survey, a big look at America now.

I did do some of that.

I went to Eldon, Iowa, home to the backdrop for American Gothic, the famous painting of the dour rural couple with pitchforks that has launched so many spoofs. It’s a tiny place, Eldon, and it’s getting tinier. The town used to have a packing plant and a railway hub, but now it has neither. Even the “Gothic House” draws only a straggle of tourists.

I also spent time in Flint, Mich., touring streets full of gutted houses and burned-out wrecks with a navy veteran turned Bernie Sanders super-fan. He left me with that month’s published list of tax foreclosures in the county. On newsprint, it’s as thick as the Sunday New York Times.

In Lexington, Ky., I had coffee with a political columnist on his last day on the job. He was leaving for a position in public relations, driven out, he said, by some combination of exhaustion, money and a sense that the game just wasn’t the same. “There used to be honour among thieves,” he told me. “There were some lies even a politician wouldn’t tell.”

But hovering over all of these stops, elbowing in, taking up room and sucking up air, was Trump. He lost the caucus in Iowa to Ted Cruz. And when he spoke that night he seemed chastened, the mood was near-funereal. But it didn’t last. He wouldn’t go away. We wouldn’t let him. He won a week later in New Hampshire, then in South Carolina. In Nevada this week, he won 46 per cent of the vote.

By the time my trip was done, Trump was the story. He might now be the only one. Heading into Super Tuesday, he leads the polls in almost every key state. That’s

About Richard Warnica