On stage he has swagger: a bullish confidence that never wavers. His choice of words is simple. The sentences are raw and unscripted. And these days the trademark bouffant blonde hair is covered in a red cap emblazoned with the logo that for many of his supporters says it all: "Make America Great Again."

His detractors have watched the unassailable rise of Donald Trump in fascinated horror. And with every excess - calling Mexicans "rapists", or apparently calling woman "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals" - political strategists have predicted his demise.

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos faced off with Donald Trump during the Republican presidential candidate's press conference in Dubuque, Iowa on Tuesday. Ramos is seen in this video asking a question on immigration. Trump responded, "Sit down, you weren’t called … go back to Univision" with Ramos saying, "I have the right to ask a question," as he was escorted out of the venue. The American Spanish-language broadcaster said Trump has turned down its interview requests since announcing his presidential bid in June. Ramos later returned to the press conference and questioned Trump on birthright citizenships and his plan to deport illegal immigrants. Source: Univision Noticias/Facebook

The American electorate is enjoying the drama of having The Donald, as the reality television star is frequently called, out on the campaign trail, shaking up the US presidential race. It is still early days. When voters finally knuckle down to choose whom they want as the Republican nominee, and ultimately their commander-in-chief, Mr Trump's popularity bubble will burst. Or so the argument goes.

But there is more to the support for Donald Trump than a love of celebrity show business. His frontrunner status is also symptomatic of a visceral rejection of Washington politics that is coursing through American society.

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Across the country, particularly industrial and agricultural heartland of the American Midwest citizens express fury at a political system that they see as "broken".

They cite the gridlock in Washington, where rancorously partisan politics have caused America's first credit downgrade. They rail against big money; the exorbitant speaking fees for certain politicians, the fat salaries of lobbyists and the unlimited spending of the electoral Super PAC - and all at a time when salary of the average American citizen remains stagnant.

Enter Donald Trump. Tired of what one Iowan called "pussy politicians", voters want to see someone from the more trusted world of business, storm into Washington and force through change.

Whereas the conventional wisdom for a would-be president is to play down personal wealth, Mr Trump flaunts his, and it only helps his campaign more. Many see his financial success as proof of that he is a "smart" and "capable" person.

Henry Weinacker shows his support before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a rally. Photo / AP
Henry Weinacker shows his support before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a rally. Photo / AP

"It's not bad to make a dollar," said Patty Davies, speaking from a softball field where she and her young twin daughters were waiting for the Donald to land in his private helicopter. The two girls were dressed in matching Trump memorabilia t-shirts.

"I think he's pretty savy," said Fern Umble, 76. "I want to tell him, 'Everyone's calling you a circus, when you get down there to Washington DC, you should have a whole lot of clowns to choose from'."

More than any policy or career choice, Mr Trump's rise is a cult of personality that taps into the deep well of American patriotism. This is especially true in Midwestern Iowa, the starting gun state for the caucuses and primary elections that will determine the next Republican and Democratic nominee.

At the annual Iowa state fair, everyday the tens of thousands of attendees and stall owners stopped dead their tracks, standing in reverent silence, hands on their hearts as large speakers blasted out the Star Spangled Banner national anthem.

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At a rally in Dubuque, Mr Trump called himself the "most militaristic person", telling supporters he would build the world's greatest army: "We're going to be respected. We're going to be really respected," he said.

Since the early 1970s it was these farming and industrial communities that formed the American middle class: they worked hard and were rewarded for their work with good salaries. You got out what you put in.

But financial crises, and globalisation - with companies sending jobs overseas where they can pay lower wages, have hit hard. Americans now work longer hours than before, but their pay is not commensurate with the increase. In some parts of the Midwest it feels very much as though the American Dream has gone.

"You know we were stable. People worked. People were proud of Iowa," said Jeb Brien, who, for the past eight years has worked two jobs to make ends meet. "The biggest thing that scares me now - because I've got kids - is that there won't be a country for my grandchildren."

Mr Trump's views on immigration may be so drastic as to be impractical - such as his plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants from America - but they are striking an emotional cord with the electorate.

"They love Mr Trump's strength in bringing up a subject that has been pushed under the rug," said Tana Goertz, Mr Trump's co-chair in Iowa. "They are saying finally someone is speaking up for our country. Finally someone is going to put a stop to this."

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Ms Goertz, who was a finalist in Trump's TV show The Apprentice 10 years ago and is now a motivational speaker, said she is getting "400 emails a day" from people who want to volunteer for the campaign.

She said she has designed an Apprentice-like set of challenges to find out "who's the best of the best" of these volunteers.