- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Analysts tend to quibble over whether military veterans vote primarily Republican. The unembellished numbers suggest that they do. According to National Election Pool final exit polls, 59 percent of veterans voted Republican in both the 2014 congressional elections and the 2012 presidential election, compared to the 39 percent who voted Democratic in both elections. In 2008 54 percent voted for Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin, and 44 percent supported then-Sens. Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden. In 2004 57 percent voted for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and 41 percent for Sens. John F. Kerry and John Edwards.

The Republican National Committee recently launched GOPVets, an aggressive outreach meant to add 700,000 new voters with military service to the Republican roster by next November. Last, but certainly not least, the voting veterans appear to be a fairly motivated group. Out of the total U.S. veteran population of 19.3 million, 14.7 voted in 2012 and 11.5 million in 2014, according to the Census Bureau.

ONE FOR THE DUST OFF HEROES


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It’s a bipartisan bill to love, supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, AMVETS, the Association of the United States Army and the Army Aviation Association of America. Sens. John Cornyn and Joe Manchin III have introduced legislation to award an elite group of Vietnam veterans with the Congressional Gold Medal. That would be the tenacious “Dust Off” crews, who drew their name from the U.S. Army 57th Medical Detachment’s radio call sign and fearlessly flew unarmed air ambulances into combat to rescue and evacuate the wounded. Their airborne mission has roots dating back to World War II.

“These soldiers earned a national reputation for their service in what was considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in one of the world’s deadliest conflicts in the modern era,” says Mr. Cornyn.



“These warriors displayed the utmost courage and resilience while under fire by flying to the treacherous frontlines to get wounded soldiers out of harm’s way. Because of their outstanding bravery, hundreds of thousands of lives were saved,” notes Mr. Manchin.

The Dustoff Association and the Vietnam Dustoff Association heartily approve of the bill. Find them here: Dustoff.org and VietnamDustoff.com.

REPUBLICANS THE DAY AFTER

Ah, how quickly they race for the door. The fourth GOP debate behind them, eight of the Republican presidential hopefuls lope off to the campaign trail on Wednesday, in time for a multitude of events honoring military veterans along with coffees, house parties and town halls. It’s back to Iowa for Donald Trump, who’s readying a jumbo rally in Fort Dodge, and Jeb Bush, who will serve coffee to vets in Johnston before departing for events in Michigan. Also in the Hawkeye State: Gov. Chris Christie, plus Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, who leaves for South Carolina the following morning.

Ben Carson journeys to Lynchburg, Virginia, for a Liberty University convocation before an audience of Christian students; C-SPAN will carry his address. Sen. Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum head to New Hampshire. Mr. Rubio, incidentally, will be in South Carolina by Thursday for a Chamber of Commerce summit.

A CHANGE OF PURPOSE

The Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan, Texas, where abortion center manager-turned-pro-life advocate Abby Johnson once worked is now a pro-life pregnancy center. When the abortion center closed last year, Hope Pregnancy Centers bought the building and remodeled the space, according to a report from Life News and the Christian News Network.

“What was once a place of death and grief where an estimated 6,400 abortions were performed has been transformed into a place of life,” says Tracy Frank, executive director of the pro-life centers. “We feel like we have reclaimed and redeemed the ground.”

The new site staged a grand opening last week as a “life-affirming pregnancy center” offering free pregnancy tests, ultrasound, counseling about pregnancy options, baby supplies and medical testing. The new center is located near Texas A&M University and Blinn College, where Planned Parenthood once “used the location to target college students — the age group most likely to have an abortion.”

SQUASHING THE COMPETITION

“Data from Nielsen shows that total sales of pumpkin-flavored food, personal and household goods in supermarkets and convenience stores across the U.S. are up almost 80 percent since 2011, to over $360 million in 2015,” reports Forbes analyst Clare O’Connor, who cites the pumpkin spice latte — or “PSL” — as a primary driver.

“Add in our estimate of $100 million in Starbucks PSL revenue, and millions more in sales of similar beverages at McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Peets and other cafes, and Forbes pegs the size of this growing pumpkin spice economy — annual sales of pumpkin-flavored food, drinks and novelties — at more than $500 million this year,” the analyst says.

“Nielsen’s data shows that sales of pumpkin yogurt are up more than 320 percent, with pumpkin cereal up over 180 percent. The next big growth market for the once-humble pumpkin? Beer, according to Mintel Menu Insights. Data shows pumpkin as a beer flavor accounts for 90 percent of the ingredient’s growth on beverage menus.”

STATS DU JOUR

19.3 million: the total number of living military veterans in the U.S., including 1.6 million women vets; 78.9 percent of the total are white, 11.4 black, 6.1 percent Hispanic, 1.5 percent Asian, 0.7 percent American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.2 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

14.7 million: the number of vets who voted in the 2012 election.

11.5 million: the number of vets who voted in the 2014 election.

7 million: the number of Vietnam War veterans.

5.5 million: the number of Gulf War vets.

4.4 million: the number of peacetime vets; 2 million: number of Korean War vets; 1.1 million: number of World War II vets.

36,396: The number of vets who served in World War II, the Korean War plus the Vietnam War.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Remembrances, patriotic affirmation to [email protected]

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