There’s one issue that Iowans are worried most about with Donald Trump, and it might doom his campaign in the caucus vote there tomorrow.
The final poll ahead of Monday’s caucuses showed Donald Trump rallying to a five-point lead over Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with two days to go before voting, but it also revealed a line of attack that could sink Trump.
In addition to asking about presidential preferences, the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll asked voters if they were bothered by certain information about the candidates. By far, the most bothersome bit of information tested about either candidate: “Donald Trump supports the use of eminent domain to take private property for public or private projects, with compensation to the landowners.” Presented with this information, 60 percent of Republican voters said it bothered them, compared with 35 percent who said it did not.
Eminent domain is a big issue in Iowa, where projects involving the government seizure of private property have drawn the ire of farmers. As my collegue Al Weaver reported last week, Trump touted the use of eminent domain in an area where farmers have been protesting a proposed regional airport that would involve land seizures. Driving around Iowa over the past few days, I’ve noticed a number of signs on farms on the side of the road reading, “Stop Eminent Domain Abuse.”
Trump often defends his love of Eminent Domain by saying we wouldn’t have freeways and roads without it:
Ted Cruz complains about my views on eminent domain, but without it we wouldn't have roads, highways, airports, schools or even pipelines.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
But he’s never built freeways or schools or roads using Eminent Domain. What is really at issue is when it’s used for PRIVATE gain, not for public benefit, which nearly no one opposes.
And he’s WHOLE-HEARTEDLY about taking away your property to help developers like himself line their pockets:
He literally justifies it by saying it would have saved HIM a ton of money. Not the tax-payer, but him.
And he gets really pissy if you ask him about it:
At a press conference in New Hampshire in November, I pressed Trump about his record of supporting government land seizures on behalf of private businesses. He said it was a “stupid question” and went on to defend the practice as “necessary.”
Do Iowans care enough about private property rights? We’ll soon find out…