For GOP 'Field of Dreams,' is Iowa heaven?
© Greg Nash

John Kinsella stood on a baseball diamond and asked: "Is this heaven?" His son, Ray, answered: "It's — it's Iowa."

That, of course, is fictional dialogue from the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams." In our world, which Republican presidential candidate will see their dream come true on Feb. 1? Will it be Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE (Texas), Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (Fla.) or Dr. Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump must pair more respectful rhetoric with positive policies Trump honors MLK amid firestorm over racially charged remarks Reporter asks Trump 'Are you a racist?' after MLK event MORE?

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Televison commentators will have you believe that while Trump may still be polling well in Iowa, his ground organization is potentially weak, and could sink the effort. They also say that first-time supporters of Trump;'s new brand of politics will hesitate to go out on a cold caucus night, and won't want to participate in the tedious caucus process. However, based on just about everything that has materialized so far, and in spite of all the controversy, Americans are fed up with traditional politics and Trump could possibly emerge as the victor in Iowa.

From the daily batch of streaming data: Cruz has gained ground and is ahead for now, but will probably end up as second; Rubio will be third; Carson a distant fourth.

The poll average from RealClearPolitics from Dec. 4 to Dec. 21 had the Republican Iowa race as follows: Cruz with 30.3 percent, Trump with 27.5 percent, Rubio with 12 percent and Carson with 9.3%.

In "Field of Dreams," we watch fiction and reality weave a tale. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, like Trump, is the early leader. His fans state clearly that he swings the bat harder than most of his contemporary players, and some say that his line drives also sound completely different. Jackson is tainted by scandal, but shakes it off and always looks like a winner.

Similar to Carson is ballplayer Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham. Graham wanted to be a ballplayer, but ended up realizing that he was better at being a doctor. In Graham’s professional baseball career, he only played one inning and never had a chance at bat. Speaking about the failure of his baseball career, he said; "[I]f I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy."

Cruz most resembles John Kinsella, Ray's father. When Ray had the vision to build a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield, he heard a voice saying "if you build it, they will come"; Jackson laters tells Kinsella that "if you build it, he will come." One could easily imagine a young Cruz showing up to play ball in an Iowa cornfield. It is important to note that in the movie, Ray's father had a unique problem that seems similar to Cruz: He was so caught up in the game, he eventually lost sight of reality.

So, who would Rubio play in this Iowa baseball movie? He fits most closely the character of Terence Mann, the writer who liked to add drama to his words. A quote from the fictional Mann: "America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again." Compare that to an actual Rubio quote and we have a match: "If we stay on this road we're on right now, our children are going to be the first Americans ever to inherit a diminished country."

With all the characters being so similar to the movie, and with the backdrop being Iowa, we are probably watching the remake of "Field of Dreams," but this time, as a reality show. It has been more than 25 years later since the original film, and the baseball diamond is still standing in Iowa. This time of year, however, the corn is gone, but not the memories. The players are back on the field.

On Feb. 1, will the best player win, or will turmoil once again raise its head, just like what transpired when the "Black Sox" team tarnished baseball by throwing the 1919 World Series?

This Republican contest in Iowa is no longer about a dream deferred. The new era of conservatives will be defining who they really are. Will they vote left of center for Trump, vote in the middle for Rubio or go wildly to the right with Cruz? This time, we really did build it and he did come. But, which "he" are we talking about?

As that little kid apocryphally said to "Shoeless" Joe in the height of all the insanity: "Say it ain't so, Joe. Say it ain't so.'

Helfenbein is a political pundit and strong advocate for a robust U.S. trade agenda. He lectures frequently on the subjects of politics and international trade. Follow him on Twitter @rhelfen.