- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Despite all the fuss, uneasiness and melodrama in the host cities, both the Republican and Democratic national conventions are very good for the local economies. Very, very good. “Between getting there, staying there, eating and drinking there, and all other activity, attendees of the two major-party conventions will be responsible for spending an estimated $360 million in their host cities,” says the U.S. Travel Association in a new analysis of direct local spending on lodging, meals, transportation, retail sales, plus host committee expenses on such concerns as security and logistics.

“You’re going to hear a lot from the candidates about their plans to create jobs,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the industry group. “It might give some people pause, but one of the easiest ways to do that is to hold more conventions. The economic activity associated with these kinds of events is extremely compelling, and we aim to make sure our policymakers understand that.”

The group also says that a total of 120,000 attendees, 12,000 delegates, 36,000 journalists and 72,000 visitors and other participants are involved in both conventions. The average “convention traveler” drops about $300 every day.

DAYS OF YORE

“A three-year diet of rubber chicken and occasional crow.”

— Columnist Charles Krauthammer’s description of a presidential campaign, as told to Time magazine on May 14, 1982.

LIBERTARIANS SWEET-TALK REPUBLICANS

They long to lure the disgruntled into the fold: The Libertarian Party is now instructing its flock to woo undecided members of the Grand Old Party with civility, patience and a little guile.

“Republicans feel betrayed and politically homeless right now. Remember that feeling?” Libertarian National Committee Chairman Nicholas Sarwark asks in a new grass-roots tutorial. “Let’s try to welcome them and their votes. We need to be diplomatic about it and resist the urge to gloat about the difficulties their party has been facing.”

The whole idea, of course, is to persuade the “displaced” GOPers to vote for Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson.

“Acknowledge their frustration. It is real. It is painful and it is personal to them. Respect it,” Mr. Sarwark continues. “Keep reminding them that there are options beyond Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and that Gary Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states.”

The nominee is persistent, that’s for sure. National polls place him with as much as 13 percent of the vote at times; if he consistently reaches 15 percent, Mr. Johnson can participate in sanctioned, heavily publicized presidential debates in September. The candidate is also big on handy mottoes. Two from this week alone: “The two-party system is a dinosaur and we’re the comet,” and “Make America sane again.”

W IS UP, MITT IS DOWN

New findings from Gallup: Former President George W. Bush enjoys the highest approval ratings among six key Republicans, earning favorable reviews from 52 percent of Americans. When he left office seven years ago, his ratings had fallen to 34 percent. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is in second place with 44 percent favorability. Among Republicans, the two gents rated 75 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

And the other four? Sen. Ted Cruz ranks third with 36 percent approval among all Americans, but 59 percent among Republicans. He is followed by Mitt Romney (35 percent, and 44 percent among GOPers), Donald Trump (33 percent, 65 percent) and Gov. Chris Christie (31 percent, 52 percent). Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy points out that both Messrs. Bush and Romney chose not to attend the GOP convention. The latter, however, has been vocal in his criticism of Mr. Trump lately, and it has a price.

“The former Massachusetts governor’s attempts to influence the outcome have not endeared him to the party,” writes Mr. McCarthy. “That is a far cry from September 2012, when about nine in 10 Republicans had a favorable view of Romney.”

FOXIFIED

The Fox News Channel bested its rivals on the first two nights of the Republican National Convention, according to early Nielsen Media Research numbers. About 5.5 million viewers tuned in during prime time on Monday: CNN drew 3.6 million and MSNBC 1.9 million. Ratings were especially high during Melania Trump’s speech at 10 p.m., when Fox attracted 6.3 million viewers; the number of viewers at the other two networks remained about the same.

Viewers stuck with Fox News for Tuesday night as well, with 4.8 million tuning in during prime time; CNN garnered 3 million, MSNBC 1.5 million.

ON THE RADAR

Once the convention hysteria has come and gone, there’s the RedState Gathering, scheduled for mid-August in Denver. It is, essentially, a conservative grass-roots training event with a bristling speakers list. Among those on the roster: Sen. Ben Sasse, Govs. Nikki Haley and Greg Abbott, Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn; Matt Schlapp, John R. Bolton, Glenn Beck, Carly Fiorina, Katie Pavlich, Rick Perry; plus radio hosts Steve Deace, Erick Erickson and Hugh Hewitt. Investigate the “RS Gathering” event at RedState.com.

POLL DU JOUR

68 percent of U.S. voters say racial and ethnic discrimination in America is a “big problem”; 12 percent say it is a small problem.

58 percent say the Black Lives Matter movement has brought attention to racial disparities; 48 percent say the movement has made racial issues “worse.”

53 percent say race relations in the U.S. have become worse “since President Obama took office”; 33 percent say there’s no change, 10 percent say they are better.

52 percent say police officers are just as likely to use excessive force in a dangerous situation against both black and white “culprits.”

34 percent say they are more likely to use force against a black “culprit.”

Source: A Monmouth University Poll of 805 registered U.S. voters conducted July 14 to 16.

Sighs of relief, chit-chat to [email protected]


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