NEWS AND OPINION:
Establishment Democrats don’t like to bandy about the “I-word.” They caution that talk of impeaching President Trump will rile up Mr. Trump’s very loyal supporters — who will flock to the polls on Nov. 6 and launch a red wave to be reckoned with. Curbing impeachment chatter could prove a challenge for these Democrats, particularly when billionaire activist Tom Steyer is spending $110 million to counter Mr. Trump through a public interest group called Need to Impeach, plus vigorous voter outreach and a 30-city national tour.
Then there is the news media. Some journalists continue to “demean the electorate,” citing Trump voters in unkind ways writes American Spectator columnist David Catron, who suggests this practice leads to political peril.
“The Left still doesn’t know why it’s losing,” says Mr. Catron, who points out that New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow referred to Trump voters as “Trump’s noxious base,” “beastly,” and “an enemy of the Republic” — while Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank recently noted that “Trump and his Fox News-viewing supporters dock their spaceship in a parallel universe where truth isn’t truth.”
Mr. Catron cites other journalists who demean Trump voters. He also reached back into history to recall Garry Wills — who in 2000 wrote “Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home,” in which the author described Mr. Reagan’s relationship with the voters as “a kind of complicity.” Mr. Catron notes that Mr. Wills was “implying that Reagan and the electorate had colluded to commit some sort of crime. The offense was, of course, their mutual refusal to imbibe the propaganda ladled out by the liberal establishment and the media.”
Such talk tends to motivate people.
“Trump voters are daily reminded that, at best, they are second-class citizens. That pisses them off, thus they pull the ‘R’ lever. And their relationship with Trump does indeed involve ‘a kind of complicity’ to make America great again,” Mr. Catron observes.
BRAWLS, BOWIE KNIVES: VIOLENCE IN CONGRESS
Congress can be cranky and argumentative. Endless news coverage, however, can amplify minor spats into encounters which suggest elected officials are ready for fisticuffs. But wait. That once was the norm. Congress used to be a very violent place indeed according to “Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War,” a new book by Joanne B. Freeman, a Yale University professor of history and American studies who chronicles the brawls, Bowie knives and pistols that were part of life on Capitol Hill at one point.
“The paintings from the time show senators in black frocks debating, their fingers thrust into the air in emphasis. But in truth, Congress was a violent place. That was in part because the nation was violent, too. There were riots in cities over immigration and fighting on the frontier over Native American land. The system of slavery was grounded in violence. It was not a kind era,” the author tells Smithsonian magazine.
“I found roughly 70 violent incidents in the 30 years before the Civil War — and very often the incidents featured a Southerner trying to intimidate a Northerner into compliance. It’s all hidden between the lines in the Congressional record; it might say ‘the conversation became unpleasantly personal.’ That meant duel challenges, shoving, pulling guns and knives. In 1858, South Carolina representative Laurence Keitt started trouble with Pennsylvania’s Galusha Grow. It turned into a mass brawl between Southerners and Northerners in the House,” Ms. Freeman said.
Back in the day, a lawmakers’ prowess could be an asset.
“There were certain people who were elected to Congress because they played rough. That’s why their constituents sent them there, to play rough, to defend their interests with gusto. And that included sometimes threats and even also sometimes fists or weapons. People knew who they were electing to Congress, and they did it for a reason” the author noted.
And yes, the news media of the time had a part in fracas even then.
“Over time, it played a more central role as things like the railroad, the telegraph, the steam powered printing press, and new ways of creating paper — there are all of these technological innovations that make the press bigger and faster and further reaching between the 1830s and the Civil War,” Ms. Freeman said.
The hefty book is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and will be on shelves Sept. 11.
AND TOMORROW’S FORECAST WILL BE
News coverage of polls is intense. It’s about to get more intense. Arriving on Tuesday, it’s the “University of Virginia Center for Politics/Ipsos Political Atlas” — which debuts at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital on Tuesday. On hand for the big reveal: Veteran analyst Larry Sabato, who founded the academic center in Charlottesville, and Clifford Young, president of Ipsos, a muscular and indefatigable global pollster.
The pair have partnered to develop “new midterm election forecasting tools as well as a new interactive forecasting site — the 2018 Political Atlas plus daily updates of the main issues affecting citizens in all 50 states. The reach is substantial. The new atlas will also provide polling and social media indicators for every congressional, senate, and gubernatorial race, as well as expert assessments and state-level polling of key states to be released throughout the fall campaign.
A MELANIA MOMENT
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed Republic of Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta and first lady Margaret Kenyatta to the White House on Monday. Then the first ladies spent time together talking over their common goals to uplift the children of their nations. Mrs. Trump’s has her Be Best campaign, Mrs. Kenyatta offers a similar Beyond Zero Initiative.
“The determination with which Kenya strives to create better lives for its children is a shared compassion with the United States,” says Mrs. Trump, who is scheduled to visit Africa in October.
POLL DU JOUR
• 55 percent of Americans support the Miss America organization’s decision to omit the swimsuit competition; 55 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats agree.
• 51 percent overall say “women exploiting their sexuality has become as big a problem as men objectifying women”; 66 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.
• 37 percent overall say the Miss America pageant “sets a good example for young women”; 46 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
• 19 percent overall oppose the organization’s decision to omit the swimsuit competition; 26 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Morning Consult poll of 2,202 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 10-12.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin