NEWS AND OPINION:
The press may loathe him. But the grassroots remain fiercely loyal to President Trump no matter what the news media does. He has the untiring support of heartland voters who rallied behind him with gusto, then went to the polls to vote the man into office. Mr. Trump revisits that territory on Saturday when he journeys to an airplane hangar in Melbourne, Florida, for a jumbo public rally — a familiar feature of his relentless campaign for the White House. It seems like old times. As a candidate, Mr. Trump was at the same site only five months ago for a rally that drew 8,500 people, with thousands more lingering outside, eager to be a part of it. This time around, the free tickets to the event were gone within hours. The local zeal for Mr. Trump has not waned.
“The enthusiasm and the excitement for President Trump down here has not changed at all. It’s just as strong as it was when he was on the campaign trail,” says Tony Ledbetter, chairman of the Volusia County Republican Party, and a volunteer organizer of the event. “It’s all positive, it’s all good. The mood has not changed, the interest remains high. But there’s an extra effect. Now we get twice as many people at our local meetings than we did before the election. And that tells you something.”
Interesting to note that Mr. Trump has preserved his original style in dealing with the press, just as he has preserved his original outreach to voters. The reason: it works. There is still hubbub over Mr. Trump’s bodacious press conference on Thursday which went on for 78 minutes, generated authentic news and prompted mirth, squawks and amazement among attending journalists who vied with one another to pose a question.
“That was vintage Trump, that was the Trump that we knew from the campaign trail, that was awesome Trump. He was in his element,” noted Fox News “The Five” co-host Eric Bolling, in a review of the performance, which drew global coverage from multiple news organizations.
Obstruction could backfire on Democrats
Democratic leaders may think they’re putting on a show of great force and determination when they block President Trump‘s efforts to people the Supreme Court and the Cabinet. But such maneuvers may not play well among Americans who are weary of Capitol Hill gridlock. There’s some representative polling on this. A new Fox News poll of registered voters finds that 54 percent of them disapprove “of Senate Democrats doing everything they can to block any of Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees they don’t like.”
Some deep numbers here: Predictably, 90 percent of “Trump voters” agree with this, along with 86 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of conservatives, 66 percent of veterans, 63 percent of independents, 60 percent of men, 58 percent of those over 45, 57 percent of those holding a college degree, 49 percent of women and 49 percent of those under 45 and 44 percent of moderates.
See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.
Planners behind the Women’s March on Washington are getting ready for Part Two: A nationwide “strike” on March 8, though the details of what that involved are scanty at this point. It does have a name though, which is “A Day Without a Woman.” Via social media, the group advises followers: “Over the next few weeks we will be sharing more information on what actions on that day can look like for you.”
The sponsors of the Woman’s March, incidentally, include Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, ACLU, MoveOn.org and Natural Resources Defense Council.
And on the far radar, eight progressive organizations are planning a “National Tax March on April 15, the main event on the National Mall in Washington, with 60 more nationwide. They are not protesting the IRS, however. The marches will “demand President Trump’s tax returns,” organizers say.
Rand Paul and the liberty-minded
Over 1,700 young, outspoken Libertarians will descend on the nation’s capital this weekend to figure out how to respond to Islamic State, American culture, unprecedented rancor between major American political parties and national security issues. Welcome to the 10th Annual International Students For Liberty Conference, where the motto is “Old Friends, News Faces, One Movement” — reflecting a similar theme found among other third parties hoping to attract disenchanted voters.
“We are tapping into the next generation’s growing demand for an alternative approach to politics. We reject the status-quo,” organizers say.
The weighty speakers roster includes Republicans Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie, both of Kentucky; Steve Forbes, columnist Amity Shlaes, Reason editor Nick Gillespie, and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, whose latest research defines the “five moral values that form our political choices,” among other things. Attendees from 50 countries are expected. Find the event here
Weekend real estate
For sale: The “Mary Tyler Moore Show Home,” familiar Victorian mansion in the iconic TV show from 1970-77; built in 1900 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Seven bedrooms, nine baths; 9,500-square-feet. Completely renovated; includes living and family rooms, gym, office, chef’s kitchen, nanny quarters, leaded glass windows, 10-foot ceilings, hardwood flooring throughout, original staircase and woodworking and built-ins, five fireplaces. Exterior stonework, turret, terraces, three-car garage. Priced at $1.7 million through Berglarsengroup.com; find the home here
Poll du jour
• 58 percent of U.S. voters say the U.S. military is “stretched too thin”; 77 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.
• 55 percent of voters overall say the military prison at Guantanamo Bay should remain open; 77 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.
• 45 percent overall say the federal government spends too little on the military; 66 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.
• 35 percent overall say the military is not stretched too thin; 15 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.
• 25 percent overall say the government spend too much on the military; 7 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.
• 25 percent overall say the government spends the right amount on the military; 21 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Fox News poll of 1,013 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 11-13.
• Calm council, chatter to jharper@washingtontimes; follow her on Twitter @HarperBulletin.