- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2018

It made a sensational prime time debut in March, generated outstanding press coverage and was a stunning cultural moment revealing the enduring power and influence of middle-class America. Indeed, ABC’s reboot of classic sitcom “Roseanne” was all of those things. Nevertheless, the network now appears to be skittish that the new program dared to offer a few scant positive views of President Trump and conservative values.

In a press conference Wednesday, ABC Entertainment Group President Channing Dungey announced that the show would dial back the politics and concentrate on “family trials and tribulations” in future episodes.

Hmm. Is it prudent to fix what does not appear to be broken? “Roseanne” rules the ratings roost, has boosted ABC’s standing and currently attracts some 19 million viewers. Meanwhile, politics is on everyone’s mind. Viewers and voters alike are engaged in the midterm elections in November, and are harkening to the first early rumbles of what will be a dramatic presidential campaign season. America has a pronounced taste for politics these days.

Series star Roseanne Barr herself offers some reassurance.

“Don’t worry, Roseanne show fans” she tweeted to her 627,000 followers in the immediate aftermath. “Next season will be even braver/funnier/timely than this season, despite what anyone mistakenly says.”

She also did some peacemaking.

ABC has been nothing but supportive to me and my show and all of our ideas. The press has misrepresented what ABC President said about our new season,” Ms. Barr later tweeted.

She is a most effective presence online, and now leads the Hollywood Reporter’s list of the most popular comedians on social media, based on data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google.

TRUMP BASHING NOW A LIABILITY

Shrill criticism of President Trump by the media and other foes does not appear to be a productive campaign tool.

“Few voters think it will pay off for Trump’s opponents in the next election,” says a Rasmussen Reports survey that finds that 43 percent of all likely voters think there is too much Trump-bashing going on in popular culture. That includes 68 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and even 27 percent of Democrats.

Meanwhile, 30 percent of voters say there isn’t enough Trump-bashing, while 21 percent say the level is about right.

Bashing does not appear to be particularly influential. Four-out-of-10 of the respondents say ongoing attacks on the president will have no impact on their vote when the time comes. Another 36 percent say the practice actually will inspire them to vote for a pro-Trump candidate. Less than a quarter say the criticisms will make them less likely to vote for the pro-Trump candidate.

The survey found that women and older folks — who consistently head to the polls to exercise their civic duty — are particularly repelled by Trump-bashing, and are less likely to be influenced by it.

67 MILLION UNREGISTERED VOTERS UP FOR GRABS

Republicans and Democrats are competing for the fickle affections of voters in the critical midterm elections. Both are fierce.

“The party is identifying our likely voters, our persuadable voters, and then building an organization as to how we’re going to turn them out. So this gives us an advantage over the Democrats,” says Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, who notes that the GOP has raised an unprecedented $171 million, made “hundreds of millions” of voter survey calls and has a precisely calibrated ground game nationwide.

Aggressive progressives also are fired up, predicting that a “progressive tsunami” will guarantee them victory in November.

“In the last election, there were over 224 million American citizens over the age of 18 in the United States, and yet only around 157 million were registered to vote. Even fewer actually voted,” points out the nonprofit Sanders Institute, a progressive policy group founded by Jane Sanders — wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The group did the math and says there are now 67 million people who are not registered to vote.

“Because of unfair, outdated or just plain stupid voting rules and practices, millions of citizens each year go uncounted, unheard and unrepresented,” former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner says in an emotional video for the aforementioned Institute — part of a series recorded on the National Mall with the Washington Monument in the background.

The progressive strategy appears to be this: seek out those who feel disenfranchised by the system in the same way the Trump campaign pursued millions of Americans who felt left out or overlooked in 2016.

“Democracy is not defined by allowing only those who can figure out how to navigate a complicated system to vote. Democracy is defined by allowing the whole eligible population to have a say in the government,” the institute said.

KASICH GETS ALL PRESIDENTIAL

Ohio Gov. John Kasich sees opportunity in immigration. He has bolstered his public profile this week with a new op-ed titled “There’s no wall at the Ohio border,” and issued an executive order to create an Office of Opportunities for New Americans and a New Americans Advisory Committee. Mr. Kasich also has launched an entire website that frames immigration in a historic context with an emphasis on “the hard work and ingenuity of diverse communities of immigrants.”

The Republican governor also has a very aggressive and active campaign website that is fundraising, pushing Mr. Kasich as a source of “conservative, thoughtful, common-sense solutions” to counter “partisan gridlock” in the nation’s capital.

POLL DU JOUR

81 percent of Americans know that President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet in June; 84 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent have confidence in Mr. Trump to handle threats posed by North Korea; 85 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

45 percent consider North Korea an “enemy”; 41 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

29 percent say North Korea is “unfriendly”; 33 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

11 percent say North Korea is friendly; 14 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of independents and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,993 registered U.S. voters conducted May 10-14.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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