- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 5, 2018

In theory, Republicans and Democrats agree on a few things not related to the political arena. Endearing pets and fabulous sunsets are good. Toenail fungus and grub worms are bad. Yes, the two sides might agree on these subjects. But Republicans and Democrats do not agree on President Trump, and the divide has grown into a record-breaking chasm according to new research.

“Over the course of an eventful first 18 months in office, President Trump’s approval ratings have remained remarkably stable. There has also been a wider gap between Republicans’ and Democrats’ views of Trump than for any other U.S. president in the modern era of polling,” writes Amina Dunn, a Pew Research Center analyst who compared Mr. Trump’s recent approval ratings to similar presidential numbers recorded by both Pew Research and Gallup — dating all the way back to 1953, the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Among all Americans, Mr. Trump’s approval ratings have lingered around 40 percent since he took office. But oh, that partisan divide. Yes, it’s a chasm.

“An average of 84 percent of Republicans say they approve of Trump’s job performance, compared with an average of just 7 percent of Democrats, according to Pew Research Center data collected over the past year and a half. This 77 percentage point gap is even larger than the partisan divides seen in average ratings of Obama (67 percentage points) and Bush (58 percentage points) during their presidencies,” said Ms. Dunn.

“The 7 percent Democrats who approve of Trump is lower than the 14 percent of Republicans who approved of Barack Obama and the 23 percent of Democrats who approved of George W. Bush during their respective administrations. Out-party ratings of the president were higher in previous decades. For example, an average 31 percent of Democrats approved of Ronald Reagan’s job performance,” the analyst said.

$185 BILLION: WHY TRUMP FRETS ABOUT CHINA

Some behemoth numbers help illustrate why President Trump is adamant about recalibrating U.S. trade with China.

“The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China set a record through June, hitting $185,721,300,000 for the first six months of 2018, according to data released by the Census Bureau. From January through June, the Census Bureau reports, the United States exported $64,017,900,000 in goods to China while importing $249,739,200,000,” writes Terence P. Jeffrey, the meticulous editor-in-chief of CNS News.

Prior to this year, the largest merchandise trade deficit the United States ever ran with China for the first six months of a year was in 2015, when the January through June U.S. trade deficit with China was close to $182 billion, Mr. Jeffrey says.

Not surprisingly, the top imports from China are cellphones and other household goods ($70 billion in 2017), followed by computers ($45 billion), telecommunications equipment ($33 billion), computer accessories ($32 billion) plus toys, games and sporting goods ($27 billion) — just to round out the top-five categories.

‘NEWS THEY CAN USE’

There has been much hubbub over President Trump’s caustic tweets about the news media, and his observation that members of the press are “an enemy of the people.” Some of Mr. Trump’s critics have declared that such a remark is an affront to the Founding Fathers and their profound value of a free press.

Yes, well. The qualities, duties and output of a free press perhaps have changed since 1787, along with the saturation level of news, the speed of its delivery and the bias of some journalists. But that aspect is a discussion for scholars.

Meanwhile, CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway about Mr. Trump’s opinions on the media, pointing out that Mr. Trump is not the first president to have an adversarial relationship with the press, and suggesting he “change his rhetoric.”

Mrs. Conway countered that the president doesn’t believe that all journalists are foes, and that his own barbs are meant, she said, for those “who aren’t always telling the truth and who are giving out emotion over information, who are talking more about their own egos than doing everyman interviews.”

She added that Mr. Trump would prefer journalists provide the public with “information,” or “news they can use,” and that overall, “the temperature needs to be dialed down.”

But does she personally think journalists are an enemy of the people?

“I don’t believe journalists are the enemy of the people. I think some journalists are enemies of the relevant — and enemies of the news you can use. And I think that most of the sins are sins of omission, not commission, meaning, why wouldn’t more reporters cover the vice president receiving the remains of our fallen in North Korea? Why less than a minute on one of the major cable stations” Mrs. Conway asked the CBS host.

THE DJ ECONOMY

Yes, there is lots of money in lots of places. Take globe-trotting DJs, for example. Forbes has complied a list of the world’s highest paid DJs — and here are the top 10, plus their country of origin and their annual incomes:

In 10th place is Martin Garrix, (the Netherlands, $13 million); followed by Kaskade (U.S., $13.5 million); David Guetta (France, $15 million); Diplo (U.S., $20 million); Zedd (Russia, $22 million); Marshmello (U.S., $23 million); Steve Aoki (U.S., $28 million); Tiesto (the Netherlands, $33 million); the Chainsmokers (U.S.-based Alex Pall and Rhett Bixler, $44.5 million); and in first place, Calvin Harris (Scotland, $48 million).

POLL DU JOUR

• 19 percent of U.S. voters say “health care” is the most important problem in the U.S. today; 14 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.

• 16 percent overall say “immigration” is the most important problem in the U.S.; 26 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

• 12 percent overall cited “the economy generally”; 10 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree.

• 9 percent overall cited “morality” as the most important problem; 12 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

• 8 percent overall cited “terrorism” is the most important problem; 11 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Reuters/IPSOS poll of 1,571 U.S. voters conducted July 27-31; voters were asked to judge a 13-item list that also included energy, education, war/foreign conflicts, unemployment, CRIME and MORE. Four percent were undecided, and 10 percent cited an issue not on the list.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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