- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2017

MAGA: The familiar acronym stands for “Make America Great Again,” the signature phrase of President Trump and millions of his followers that has gained momentum since the 2016 campaign. It is an instant and powerful identifier for those who back the president with gusto — an oft-used Twitter tag and T-shirt motto. Now it has become a social force, an organization. Behold: MAGA Meetups is now percolating.

Indeed, like minds like to party together, a phenomenon not lost on Will Chamberlain, an attorney who has organized this pro-Trump social outreach in the nation’s capital, with an eye on expanding to the burgeoning population of Trump fans around the country. This could happen, particularly as the 2020 election looms, and the next race begins. Mr. Chamberlain, incidentally, is the pointman behind the “DeploraBall” inaugural gala, staged at the National Press Club on the eve of Mr. Trump’s inauguration, and described as “the event that became a movement.”

Nine months have passed, and a business entity has taken form.

MAGA Meetups is a new nonprofit corporation that will organize meetup groups throughout the country to provide education, networking, and community for Trump-sympathetic conservatives,” the organization notes in a mission statement.

They will launch later this month with what’s billed as a Halloween Takeover Party — “a celebration of the populist takeover of the Republican Party,” and ticket sales are brisk.

“The response has been excellent, and we’re on track to sell out well in advance of the event,” Mr. Chamberlain tells Inside the Beltway.

NEW DEMOGRAPHIC: THE ‘SECULAR VALUES VOTER’

Speaking of catchphrases, there is a new one for the political and cultural lexicon. That would be “openly secular,” a term that originates with the Secular Coalition of America, a nonprofit based in the nation’s capital for those who “identify” as atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker and secularist. The group advises people to “identify however your beliefs are best described.”

They have named Friday as “Openly Secular Day” and are encouraging inquiring citizens to get political, and make their presence known.

“This Openly Secular Day, we want you to tell your representatives that you are a Secular Values Voter who believes in freedom, inclusion, equality, and knowledge, and who asks that all Americans be represented equally regardless of their faith or lack thereof,” the organization advises.

They are indeed active, organizing a public petition this week against the Boy Scouts of America, which they say uphold a policy which does not admit atheists, found in an official Scouts’ declaration of religious principles.

“As long as the Boy Scouts maintains their ban on atheists, they have no right to taxpayer money,” the secular coalition advises. “They claim that their mission is to instill values and develop the character of young people. It’s time for them to live up to this mission by embracing the values of inclusion and tolerance.”

CUBAN PICKS A PARTY

Mark Cuban is still toying with a White House run, apparently. He may be ready to reveal all.

Fox News Channel’s “OBJECTified” host Harvey Levin will feature Mr. Cuban — serial entrepreneur, investor and Dallas Mavericks owner — as he reveals which possessions in his swank Dallas home are the ones he prizes most. He’ll chat candidly about his journey to billionaire-hood.

But a possible 2020 presidential run is also on the agenda, and Mr. Cuban is ready to reveal which party he’ll choose to run for, when and if the time comes. Showtime is 8 p.m. EDT.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Political violence and terrorism insurance: It’s called a “PVT” policy for short, and it’s becoming increasingly popular among major music acts and entertainers facing an uncertain world.

“If it’s a big tour and you’re a high-profile artist and you gather tens of thousands of people per show, you have to have it,” an attorney who represents Britney Spears and Steven Tyler told The Hollywood Reporter, an industry publication.

“A string of deadly attacks at music events — including the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas — is pushing artists to invest in something most didn’t think they needed: terrorism insurance,” writes analyst Ashley Cullins.

Political violence and terrorism policies have been around for decades, primarily geared to performers who were headed for “volatile regions” in Eastern Europe and other spots. That’s changing, Ms. Cullins said. Artists are being advised to pick up the insurance no matter where their tours take them. In addition, other live events, such as college sports games and business trade shows, are also buying coverage.

It is not cheap. Standard nonperformance insurance costs about 2 percent of the artist’s guarantee a “PVT add-on” costs an extra half-percent. Should a big league performance net, say, $4 million — the total insurance premium on the single show would be about $100,000.

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POLL DU JOUR

• 46 percent of U.S. voters believe Republicans in Congress provide adequate oversight of the Trump administration; 71 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

• 40 percent of voters overall believe the Republicans support President Trump’s legislative agenda; 53 percent Of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

• 34 percent overall believe Mr. Trump is more in touch with GOP voters than the Republicans; 57 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

• 33 percent overall believe the Republicans are more in touch with the GOP voters; 27 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

• 33 percent overall believe the Republicans in Congress support Mr. Trump himself; 51 percent Of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,991 registered U.S. voters conducted Oct. 12-16.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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