NEWS AND OPINION:
Donald Trump appears ready to fight for the support of every last voter until the final moments of the election season. The GOP presidential nominee continues to seek public advice about the issues, priorities and the tone of his campaign. For the seventh time, Mr. Trump has issued his own 30-question survey on such weighty matters, bypassing the traditional media in favor of his own findings.
“We can’t focus on every single issue. We’re going to have to decide which are going to sway this election and deliver a massive victory for the American people,” Mr. Trump advises. “We will spread our message of a stronger, freer and more prosperous America to every single undecided voter across the country.”
Mr. Trump wonders if he should spend more time delivering a positive message or attack rival Hillary Clinton’s “failed record” and policies instead. President Obama‘s executive orders come into play in the survey, as does “the rise of anti-police rhetoric” and support for Israel. His “agree or disagree” inquiries are very specific. Among the issues he addresses:
“Taxpayers should never be forced to fund abortions.”
“Government programs should be forced to prove their worth or else they will be cut.”
“Traditional American values are currently under assault in America.”
“America should stop nation-building abroad while so many at home are struggling.”
“New immigrants from countries rife with terrorism should undergo vetting.”
‘CLINTON-PROGRESSIVE POLICE STATE’
Longtime conservative maven Richard Viguerie has produced an instant publication for these final, frantic days before the election, consisting of essays penned by a group of 18 conservative leaders who include Brent Bozell, Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell Jr., Craig Shirley, Joseph Farah, David Keene and James Dobson.
Mr. Viguerie says the compilation is meant to “attack the idea that not voting for Donald Trump somehow advances conservative principles.” The 25-page booklet is titled “Hail Hillary: Is a Clinton-Progressive Police State in America’s Future?”
Interesting. Some in GOP circles seem to suggest there’s virtue in shunning Mr. Trump.
“Hail Hillary is a cannonball through the doors of the ivory towers of those conservative who continue to obdurately claim that a Hillary Clinton presidency might not be that bad, that the country can recover after four or eight years, and that her policies won’t be aimed at marginalizing, if not outlawing, the conservative worldview,” says Mr. Viguerie.
“This is now a binary choice: Donald Trump and Mike Pence vs. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. In this battle there is only the victory or defeat of constitutional liberty and the rule of law. In this battle there is no third option, there is no compromise, there is no sitting out the election. I’m all in for Trump and Pence,” he adds.
Find the booklet free to download at ConservativeHQ.com.
NOT SO KEEN ON THE BAN
“The fewest Americans in 20 years favor making it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles. Thirty-six percent now want an assault weapons ban, down from 44 percent in 2012 and 57 percent when Gallup first asked the question in 1996,” writes Gallup analyst Art Swift. Fifty percent of Democrats, 31 percent of independents and 25 percent of Republicans currently favor a ban.
“Decline in support for an assault weapons ban mirrors the trend for those saying there should be a law banning the possession of handguns, except by the police or other authorized people. Currently, 23 percent of Americans favor such a ban, down from 26 percent in 2011 and 36 percent in 2004,” Mr. Swift noted. “At the same time, 55 percent of Americans say laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, with 10 percent saying the laws should be less strict and 34 percent saying they should be kept as they are now.”
Why the decline?
“In an era of ongoing terrorist attacks and mass shootings in the U.S., Americans are now more likely to oppose an assault weapons ban than they have been in two decades. One reason may be the large increase in opposition to such a ban among Republicans. Whereas 20 years ago half of Republicans were open to such legislation, now only one in four are. But politics alone do not explain the declining support, since it has dropped among independents and Democrats as well, although on a smaller scale,” Mr. Swift writes.
“It is possible this represents a backlash against calls by some in the national media and the federal government to ban certain weapons after mass shootings occur. This backlash may reflect growing apprehension that the government may infringe upon particular civil and personal liberties.”
The poll of 1,017 U.S. adults was conducted Oct. 5-9.
W AND LAURA HAVE A PARTY
Unbeknownst to many Americans, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush quietly celebrated their 70th birthdays a few days ago at the couple’s ranch in Prairie Chapel, Texas. Country music legend George Strait sang. The cordial crowd two-stepped under the stars, Lone Star-style. And here’s what was on the menu:
Avocado and grapefruit salad, mesquite smoked and peppered beef tenderloin, roasted corn and poblano pudding, green beans, bourbon carrots, cheddar and black pepper biscuits. And don’t forget the traditional Texas chocolate sheet cake.
Tired yet? The ever-vigilant Pew Research Center has determined that 65 percent of Americans now use social media, and political debate and discussion is a part of their experience. The phenomenon is taking a toll.
“More than one-third of social media users are worn out by the amount of political content they encounter, and more than half describe their online interactions with those they disagree with politically as stressful and frustrating,” write Pew analysts Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smith. “Some users enjoy the opportunities for political debate and engagement that social media facilitates, but many more express resignation, frustration over the tone and content of social platforms.”
Six out of 10, in fact, deem the political fare “stressful and frustrating,” the researchers found, compared to 35 percent who deem it “interesting and informative.” Roughly half of users feel the political conversations they see on social media are angrier, less respectful and less civil than their conversation in other areas of life, the researchers found.
It is a bipartisan phenomenon, meanwhile. Identical numbers of Democrats and Republicans — 37 percent — report they are now weary and worn out by their political experiences on Twitter, Facebook and other sources.
POLL DU JOUR
• 81 percent of Americans have heard about the recent Wikileaks release of John Podesta‘s hacked emails; 85 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 79 percent of Democrats agree.
• 41 percent overall say the release of the emails “serves the public interest”; 65 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.
• 41 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of WikiLeaks; 61 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats agree.
• 29 percent overall have an unfavorable impression of WikiLeaks; 17 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.
• 29 percent are not sure how they feel; 22 percent of Republicans, 33 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A YouGov poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 23-24.
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