President Trump‘s actions have spoken louder than the news media’s criticism in recent days. Hurricane Harvey and North Korea have forced journalists to cover breaking news and the president’s positive role in it all, temporarily muting Trump-bashing down to a dull roar.
When it returns — and it will — those critics will still have another force to deal with: the stalwart support of millions of Trump voters.
Consider that in March, a Morning Consult poll declared that Mr. Trump’s so-called “scandals” actually prompt those who voted for him “to like him more.” The survey also found that Mr. Trump’s claim that the news media “is an enemy of the people” caused his favorability numbers to rise by 31 percentage points.
Looks like the pro-Trump sentiment has not abated.
“In the past few months, a CNN producer and a ‘Scandal’ star have called people who voted for Trump ‘stupid.’ Their contempt has registered with voters in this part of the country, and it has only served to escalate their commitment to the president,” writes New York Post columnist Salena Zito. “Despite his flaws, Trump voters are waving the flag for their underdog candidate in a show of defiance. Many don’t think he is on the ropes, and they believe he will eventually get results. The establishment may hate the president, but his voters have got his back.”
This unity appears to be growing, complete with an emerging new focus.
“Trump voters aren’t just changing their party allegiance, they’re crystallizing a new identity: as common-sense Americans bound together against seemingly hostile liberals who appear to disdain their way of life. And the Democrats have done nothing to win over these voters, nothing,” Ms. Zito concludes.
THE ‘SHOUTED QUESTIONS’ MEDIA
Secretary of Defense James Mattis offered a succinct overview of the North Korean threat to the White House press corps Sunday afternoon as cameras clicked furiously — and reporters yelled. No, really. Questions were many, and here is how CQ Roll Call correspondent John T. Bennett describes them, verbatim from the afternoon White House pool report.
“Shouted question No. 1: Secretary Mattis, do you believe they’ve got a nuclear warhead that could go on a missile?”
‘Shouted question No. 2: Was it a high [inaudible], Mr. Secretary?”
“Shouted question No. 3: Mr. Secretary, is war inevitable?”
“Shouted question No. 4: Is the president going to war, Secretary Mattis?”
The questions, incidentally, were ignored.
ONE FOR THE GIPPER ON LABOR DAY
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has announced that President Ronald Reagan soon will be inducted into the U.S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor, as the only U.S. president to head up a major union.
The 40th president was nominated for the honor by the Sergeants Benevolent Association, an independent union comprised of 12,000 active and retired sergeants of the New York City Police Department.
“Well before he led this nation, Ronald Reagan led the Screen Actors Guild during its first three strikes,” Mr. Acosta recently told an audience at the Reagan Presidential Library. “As president of the Screen Actors Guild, President Reagan negotiated never-before-seen concessions for members, which included residual payments, and health and pension benefits. As president of this nation, Ronald Reagan continued to recognize the contributions of unions to a free society. His support for Solidarity in Poland prompted a flourishing of freedom that ultimately led to the collapse of Communism.”
DEMOCRATS BEGIN TO TINKER WITH 2020
The 2020 presidential race is under way as far as some Democrats.
Advisers and aides to former President Barack Obama — including confidante Valerie Jarrett and David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation — have already begun signaling which candidate they might support for the White House.
Both have sent “smoke signals” urging former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to enter the race, according to Amie Parnes, senior political correspondent for The Hill.
One top Obama fundraiser called the nod to Mr. Patrick “blatantly overt” and an effort meant to cool insider interest in Sen. Kamala Harris of California, another potential hopeful.
“A lot of people in our world see Deval as the one who will carry the Obama legacy. Kamala has labeled herself as the female Obama, but Deval was Obama before Obama was Obama,” the source said.
“Many Democrats and Republicans believe the 2020 race will be wide open, and that a couple dozen Democrats could even run for the party’s presidential nomination,” says Ms. Parnes, adding that Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernard Sanders both remain forces to be reckoned with.
“I want to see a wide open process where there are no front runners. The idea that anyone is out there pushing for one person or another is a mistake,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley told the correspondent.
Sen. Bernard Sanders is in New Hampshire on Labor Day staging a big morning rally at a public park in Concord, the state capital. Within hours, he will jump over the border to his home state of Vermont, for gatherings in Middlebury and White River Junction, staged on the town “greens.”
Last week, Mr. Sanders was in Iowa, advising his audience that the Democratic Party was “ignoring” voters; he soon heads to Missouri.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sanders’ former presidential campaign site is still very active — complete with fundraising apparatus, constant policy updates on healthcare, jobs, wages, climate change plus listings for volunteer opportunities. He certainly resembles a 2020 hopeful — though he will turn 76 on Friday, and will be 79 when the next presidential election looms.
POLL DU JOUR
• 91 percent of U.S. voters are still “satisfied” with how they voted in 2016; 93 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of independents and 91 percent of Democrats agree.
• 6 percent overall regret their vote or have “mixed feelings”; 5 percent of Republicans, 9 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.
• 58 percent of voters overall say President Trump will “finish his term of office”; 90 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.
• 34 percent of voters overall say Mr. Trump will not complete his term; 6 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 56 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Fox News poll of 1,006 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 27-29.
• Have a pleasant, productive Labor Day. Thanks for reading Inside the Beltway.