If you want to understand the New Hampshire primary, stand at the corner of West Broadway and Valley Street in Derry, N.H.

There are two huge yard signs — one for Nikki Haley and one for Donald Trump — on adjacent houses. Perhaps a neighbor-on-neighbor feud?

Not exactly: When my colleague Michael Bender headed there recently, neighbors told him that the pro-Haley house had been vacant for years, and that political campaigns often planted their signs there. And the pro-Trump house was actually owned by an absentee landlord who lives in Florida.

It felt like one big metaphor for this campaign. The race looks like a real contest, with yard signs and all the usual campaign events. Yet when you dig a little deeper, there’s far less going on than it may seem.

Trump is the political version of a Florida-based absentee landlord. He barely held any campaign events in the state until the final week. Now the former president has come to collect what he believes is his due.

He has flown in for nightly rallies with a flurry of surrogates, including Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Haley’s home state. That’s been enough to boost enthusiasm and extend his lead. Trump’s double-digit advantage has never wavered, only grown.

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