- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2017

Many voters wish for a viable third political party. Two appear to be emerging at once — driven by disgust with establishment Republicans and Democrats alike. In a poll released Sunday, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal have identified “true Trump voters” who voted for President Trump, not as a vote against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton but because they support him in no uncertain terms.

“The Trump arm of the GOP looks almost like an entity unto itself, one that is feeling acutely uncomfortable with many of the changes of the past decade and overlooked by the news media,” the poll analysis notes. “The attitudes among true Trump voters raise questions about the Republican Party’s direction. The energy in the GOP right now is with them and the data do not suggest they are a group looking for compromise or moderation.”

Among many things, the findings highlight True Trumpers’ dismay with the press: 76 percent say the news media “pays too little attention to working Americans,” compared to 65 percent of Republicans and 48 percent of Democrats.

The Democrats, meanwhile, are now faced with “the dawn of the Berniecratic Party,” writes David Catanese, senior political writer for U.S. News & World Report.

Indeed, a hefty population of Democratic voters remain charmed by Sen. Bernard Sanders, who continues to push vigorous progressive ideas on health care, wages and other issues custom-made for those who still “feel the Bern.”

“The center of power in the Democratic Party is moving rapidly leftward and Sanders is serving as the conductor,” writes Mr. Catanese, who is monitoring which of the party’s potential president hopefuls are siding with Mr. Sanders.

“While his former primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, is relitigating the last war, an emboldened Sanders is already making moves to shape the next one. Clinton may technically be right, as she continues to assert in interviews, that Sanders ‘is not even a Democrat.’ But it’s Democrats who are increasingly gravitating to Sanders, as 16 did this week by joining his legislation calling for a Medicare-for-all health care system.” Mr. Catanese says.

Clinton is indicating she wants to remain active in politics by backing Democratic candidates in 2018 who can help flip Congress. But in a striking role reversal, it’s the 76-year-old Sanders who now wields more power among the next line of budding aspirants in Democratic politics.”

THE PUNCH FACTOR

If he negotiates with Democrats, does President Trump risk losing support from biggest fans? Maybe not. The forever-Trump crowd is a ready audience whenever their man rattles Congressional leadership.

Donald Trump is not one to twiddle his thumbs while Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan get their act together. You know, his DNA is in deal making. And he’s not going to sit around and wait for that. And so why not go and talk to Chuck and Nancy and all of that? Look, I think the big narrative that’s been missed here is that Donald Trump’s base that we hear so much about is not a constitutionally conservative tea party base. It just isn’t,” Christian Broadcasting Network political analyst David Brody told NBC News on Sunday.

“And it goes across party lines. And I know we talk about independents and Democrats. But it’s more that. It’s blue collar. A lot of these voters, if you will, want to punch politicians in the face. And here’s Donald Trump doing it. And so if it’s Chuck and Nancy or Mitch and Paul, who cares?” asks Mr. Brody.

ONE FOR JOHNNY APPLESEED

Yes, that Johnny Appleseed, the pioneer nurseryman and folk hero who planted orchards primarily in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania during the early decades of the 19th century.

Now there’s apple jelly, produced from the last tree that Johnny ever planted. It took 23 years, but Florida-based Congaree and Penn Farm has produced “Johnny Appleseed Authentic,” an artisanal apple jelly produced from trees propagated from the last known and verified apple tree planted by the one and only John Chapman.

The growers described the jelly as tart but sweet; it’s pricey but handsomely packaged — $12 for an eight-ounce jar. Consult CongareeandPenn.com for additional information.

THE VALUE OF A TRUMP TWEET

“Without Donald Trump, Twitter Inc. could lose almost a fifth of its value. That’s the conclusion of Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. analyst James Cakmak, who said that the social media company would see as much as $2 billion in market value wiped out if @realDonaldTrump quit tweeting,” reports Bloomberg News

The president is a force. On his personal Twitter account, he has 38.5 million followers, with another 20.3 million on his official White House account. He has tweeted a total of 36,000 times.

Mr. Trump’s absence would hit Twitter’s ‘intangible’ value,” Mr. Cakmak told Bloomberg, adding,”There is no better free advertising in the world than the president of the United States.”

OBAMA RETURNS

Former President Barack Obama is returning to serious public political duty in a bit over a week. On Sept. 27, he will headline a major Democratic Party fundraiser in the nation’s capital.

There’s a reason for calling in such firepower. The Democratic National Committee is lagging behind on the fundraising front, bringing in $38,2 million in the first half of the year, compared to $75.4 million for the GOP.

But Mr. Obama is just getting started.

He will host an inaugural “Obama Foundation Summit” in Chicago, to “exchange ideas, explore creative solutions to common problems, and experience civic art, technology, and music from around the world.” The two-day event begins Oct. 31, and marks Mr. Obama’s return to his favorite role as community organizer, this time on a global scale.

“We want to inspire and empower people to change the world,” he advises in video promoting the event, which will be followed by many more, he says.

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of U.S. voters say it is time for Hillary Clinton to retire from public life.

30 percent overall say Mrs. Clinton still has a future in public life.

49 percent say her “continued presence on the national stage” could damage the Democratic Party.

23 percent say she has “no impact” on the Democratic Party; 21 percent say she is good for the party.

44 percent blame Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 loss on a weak campaign; 40 percent cite “outside factors.”

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 registered U.S., voters conducted Sept. 10-11.

• Churlish remarks and chatter to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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