- The Washington Times - Monday, February 6, 2017

They are angry, sad, scared, outraged. And they complain, march, holler and insist the nation is in “chaos.” And so it goes for Democrats and hefty populations of liberals and progressives who are still upset over President Trump’s victory. The phenomenon is billed as “Trump derangement syndrome” by Sen. Ted Cruz, political analyst Seton Motley and other observers. But the public may soon develop its own case of derangement fatigue as the appeal of such noisy fare wears thin.

Trump derangement syndrome could end up helping President Trump,” writes John Fund, national affairs correspondent for National Review. “Trump’s best asset may be his unhinged opponents. Permanent outrage and hysterical doom-mongering do not attract moderate voters. The bad news for Democrats is that the fires of protest could burn so brightly that they alienate moderate voters and threaten any Democrats who decline to throw gasoline on the fires.”

This is a viable dynamic now that the 2018 midterms have materialized on the horizon and Democratic fundraising are underway. But even now, it looks daunting for Dems.

“Passionate protests against Donald Trump’s presidency have swelled the ranks of Democratic activists, but their new enthusiasm faces a hard reality: Republicans remain well positioned to retain their grip on power in the 2018 elections,” says David A. Lieb an Associated Press correspondent. “While Republicans hold only a slim majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats occupy most of the seats up for election in two years. That means they must play defense against Republicans, especially in 10 states that Trump won. In the U.S. House, Republicans will be aided by favorable district boundaries that were drawn to maintain GOP political dominance.”

The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, is maintaining the drumbeat of dissent, and also claims they have signed up 675,000 new supporters in January alone. Mr. Lieb cites National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jesse Hunt, who calls the Democratic optimism a “pipe dream” and notes that Democrats “also held high hopes for 2016, but unseated just four of the 15 freshmen GOP representatives they targeted.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“A Day Without a Woman”

— New protest planned by organizers of the recent Woman’s March on Washington, who announced in an Instagram post on Monday that they plan a “general strike” and a “day without women” — “date to be announced.”

CLASH OF THE TITANS: TED VS. BERNIE

CNN will stage a live town hall debate between Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Bernard Sanders on Tuesday night. Yes, you heard that right. The event will be moderated by prime-time anchor Jake Tapper and political analyst Dana Bash before a sizable audience at George Washington University, just five blocks from the White House.

President Trump has made repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act one of his top priorities while congressional Democrats are opposed. Sanders, an opponent of repealing Obamacare, and Cruz, a supporter of the president’s healthcare agenda, will join Tapper and Bash to debate the fate of former President Obama’s signature legislation and the GOP’s approach to health care,” CNN notes.

The two spirited lawmakers will also take questions at the 90-minute event; things get underway at 9 p.m.

THE THIRD PARTY HAS A VICTORY

During the 2016 presidential election, Libertarians were plenty vexed that their candidate Gary Johnson was excluded from sanctioned debates based on regulations that required him to achieve a certain percentage of voter support in national polls. Mr. Johnson did not reach the threshold, but did appear in several independent debates, including two on Fox News. Nevertheless, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party sued for more open presidential debates, a case known as “Level the Playing Field v. Federal Election Commission.”

On Feb. 1 U.S. District Court Tanya S. Chutkan ruled that the federal commission “clearly ignored the very substantial evidence submitted by the plaintiffs that indicate that the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is rigged in favor of the Republicans and Democrats. The court ordered the FEC to reconsider the plaintiffs’ allegations against the CPD within 30 days and reconsider its refusal to reconsider the request for a rulemaking within 60 days” — this according to an account released by the Libertarian Party, which called the ruling a “victory” for more open debates.

“For decades, the CPD has operated in a manner designed to support and perpetuate the two old parties and protect them from any political competition. And for decades, the Federal Election Commission has been complicit by willfully ignoring the evidence that the commission is running an illegal bipartisan campaign commercial. We hope that this ruling will get the FEC to start following and enforcing the law fairly,” says Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee.

PROMISING NEWS FOR JUDGE GORSUCH

“Voters are more supportive of President Trump’s first nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court than they were initially for either of President Obama’s choices and strongly suspect that Judge Neil Gorsuch will be the next Supreme Court justice,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey of likely voters that found 86 percent of them say Mr. Gorsuch will be confirmed.

The majority of the respondents — 51 percent — say the Senate “should” confirm the nominee; 20 percent are undecided and 29 percent disagree. And as of Monday, Mr. Trump himself currently has a 53 percent favorability rating, the pollster says.

POLL DU JOUR

94 percent of likely U.S. voters say federal government programs should be subjected to regular performance reviews.

85 percent say federal workers should be rewarded for doing a good job, but it should be “easier” to fire federal workers if they do a bad job.

84 percent say the problems in the tax code are so large that President Trump, Republicans and Democrats should work together to reform the tax code.

79 percent say federal regulations should have a “sunset provision” — a date on which the regs either end or are renewed by Congress.

30 percent think the next generation will have a better quality of life than there is now.

Source: A Ripon Society/Tarrance Group survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters conducted Jan. 9-12 and released Monday.

• Hems and haws to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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