- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 22, 2016

The enthusiastic campaign culture of Sen. Bernie Sanders has fixated many a voter. The Democratic hopeful has won some significant polls and continues to draw huge crowds to his signature “Future to Believe In” rallies. In the next 48 hours, there are five of them in the Los Angeles area alone.

Mr. Sanders continues to ignore front-runner Hillary Clinton’s demand that he drop out of the race, instead flaunting his fundraising prowess with a brand new website that gives all the details. According to his campaign, 816 donations arrive every hour; the typical donor is 27 years old, and the average contribution is $27. So far, Mr. Sanders has raised $212 million, besting Mrs. Clinton’s fundraising numbers for the fourth month in a row.

It’s all in the name of powering “Bernie’s political revolution,” a phrase that now appears on official campaign items, right along with “Feel the Bern.” But wait. There’s some socialist style emerging too. Mr. Sanders has now assembled “Art of the Political Revolution,” a collection of 10 original images produced by like-minded artists around the nation. They are now available as fine prints on premium, eco-friendly paper with soy ink, of course — at $50 each.

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s the first person running for president in a long time who has the best interests of America at heart,” says Greg Auerbach, a Los Angeles-based artist who contributed one of the images.

A CULTURAL MOMENT

“In the evening, the President will participate in a bilateral meeting with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam at the Central Office of the Communist Party of Vietnam.”

— From the White House official dispatch describing President Obama’s schedule for Monday.

THE STATE OF TALK RADIO

Sixty talk radio host gathered for the 19th annual Talkers Conference in New York City on Friday — everyone from Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Hugh Hewitt to Meghan McCain, Jim Bohannon and Alan Colmes.

“This is a crucial and dramatic time for talk radio and all its related forms of talk media,” Michael Harrison tells Inside the Beltway. He is the founder of Talkers magazine and main organizer of the event.

Things could get noisier.

“The industry’s three big challenges are successfully integrating into the exciting new technological paradigm of the digital era without losing the essence of its iconic magic,” Mr. Harrison continues. “We also must bridge the generation gap and provide millennials with indispensable programming, and widen our menu to appeal to a spectrum of lifestyles and perspectives that exist in our turbulent society.”

NADER’S RAIDERS RIDE AGAIN

The aforementioned Sen. Bernie Sanders — along with GOP nominee Donald Trump — have certainly whetted the nation’s appetite for alternative voices. Not to be outdone: Long, long, longtime social activist Ralph Nader has some bodacious plans of his own.

On Monday, he launches “Breaking Through Power” — a four-day “historic civic mobilization” at Constitution Hall, which is literally across the street from the White House. Mr. Nader says he plans to “discover ways to break through power to secure long-overdue democratic solutions made possible by a new muscular civic nexus between local communities and Washington, D.C.”

Got that?

Essentially, Mr. Nader wants to remind the citizenry how to rock the bureaucracy, the media, the military and other “power” forces — and he has assembled a motley cast of people to chime in. They include former Rep. Dennis Kucinich, veteran TV host Phil Donahue and punk rock diva Patti Smith, plus 70 other outspoken folk to present strategies “designed to take existing civic groups to higher levels of effectiveness,” says Mr. Nader.

He is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Unsafe at Any Speed,” his pivotal book that accused the auto industry of overlooking safety. Mr. Nader, 82, ran for president in every election from 1992 to 2008 and is still quite ready to rumble. Find the gathering at Breakingthroughpower.org.

ON THE RADAR

The acronym of the day is “SOFIC” — which stands for a powerful thing indeed. The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference convenes Monday in Tampa, brandishing the theme “Evolving the Network to Counter Emerging Threats.”

The three-day event puts an emphasis on how best to support those who must confront persistent, evolving, tricky global threats; the organizer is the National Defense Industrial Association. And yes, there’s a party amid all the exhibits for drones, robotics and forensics. A formal gala is planned; the speaker is none other than FBI Director James Comey. Peek at their big doings at SOFIC.org.

NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE

Charles Patchen, 13, caught a 63.8-pound flathead catfish on the Chattahoochee River in Jackson County at 2:30 p.m. on May 15. He beat the previous certified state record by more than 8 pounds,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated in a news dispatch Saturday, noting that the young angler caught the fish on Zebco 33 rod with a 14-pound test line and wrestled the 48-inch critter aboard the boat two hours later with the help of his mother and stepfather.

“I was so tired after reeling it in that I fell back into the boat to rest. But I’m glad my mom made me go fishing that day because now I am the catfish master,” Charles told the state office.

POLL DU JOUR

46 percent of registered U.S. voters say they would support Donald Trump; 55 percent of this group “somewhat support” Mr. Trump; 44 percent “strongly” support him.

50 percent of this group would vote for Mr. Trump as a way to oppose Hillary Clinton; 46 percent say it is because they support Mr. Trump himself.

44 percent of all voters say they would support Mrs. Clinton in a matchup with Mr. Trump; 51 percent of this group “somewhat support” Mrs. Clinton; 47 percent “strongly” support her.

51 percent of this group will vote for Mrs. Clinton as a way to oppose Mr. Trump; 46 percent say it is because they support Mrs. Clinton herself.

Source: A Washington Post/ABC News poll of 829 registered U.S. voters conducted May 16-19.

Complaints, fishing tales to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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