NEWS AND OPINION:
The Democrats’ hopes for a “blue wave” to sweep through the midterm elections in November appears to be fading. For one thing, those in Sen. Bernard Sanders’ corner vow that a “progressive tsunami” is on its way. Axios senior analyst Mike Allen, meanwhile, predicts that a new “Clinton wave” is about to surface, propelled by residual Democratic enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton. A red wave, however, is building. CNN has some significant numbers.
“The Democrats’ advantage in the generic ballot dipped from 16 points in February to six points in March to just three points now. The party’s advantage has waned among enthusiastic voters as Republican enthusiasm has grown,” reports Jennifer Agiesta, CNN’s polling director.
It’s close: 53 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans now say they are “very” or “extremely” enthusiastic about voting for Congress this year. The number was 45 percent among all Americans, the poll found.
Meanwhile, 47 percent of the public plans to vote for “the Democratic Party candidate” in their own district, while 44 percent favor the Republican candidate. Party loyalty is equal: 96 percent of Republicans will back the GOP candidate, 96 percent of Democrats back the hopeful from their own party.
What about the White House factor in all of this? The survey found that 44 percent of Americans would be more likely to support a congressional candidate who supports President Trump; 91 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree. Forty-eight percent overall would support the candidate who opposes Mr. Trump; 6 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats agree.
What about a red wave, then? Though they have a burgeoning war chest and a polished ground game, the GOP needs some oomph of the most basic variety: stop squabbling in public, unify the message, hone a can-do image, show some muscle and dare to feel some authentic Reagan-style — or Trump-style — optimism.
THE HASPEL PRESS
A few headlines to mull following Acting CIA Director Gina Haspel‘s Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday:
“CIA pick Haspel defends ‘moral compass’ amid Dem attacks, details spy credentials” (Fox News); “CIA nominee bolsters chance for confirmation” (The Hill); “CIA chief nominee vows not to restart interrogation program” (CNN); “Republicans are trying to use Gina Haspel’s gender against Democrats” (Slate Magazine); “Tom Cotton takes Dems to task for hypocrisy on Gina Haspel” (The Daily Caller); “Gina Haspel could be the first woman director of the CIA” (TeenVogue.com); “Democrat Joe Manchin will vote to confirm Gina Haspel” (Axios); “Gina Haspel says she knows ‘the CIA like the back of my hand’” (CBS News).
‘JOHN KERRY, BUSY BODY’
President Trump recently deemed John Kerry‘s “shadow diplomacy” to rev up support for the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal as possibly illegal.
“We’ll leave legal scholars to debate whether Kerry’s busybody diplomacy is ‘illegal’ — i.e. whether it violates the 1799 Logan Act barring unauthorized negotiations with foreign powers. Otherwise it’s hard to disagree with the president. Kerry, together with Barack Obama, is chiefly responsible for what was in our view a grossly misguided agreement with one of the world’s foremost sponsors of terrorism. The 2015 agreement enriched the Iranian regime in exchange for vain promises not to pursue its nuclear weapons program, all while turning a blind eye to Iran’s malevolent behavior throughout the Middle East and beyond,” notes a new editorial from the Weekly Standard.
“But leave aside the merits or demerits of the Iran deal. The point is: John Kerry is no longer secretary of state. The Constitution confers authority on the Trump administration to negotiate on behalf of the United States. There’s no role to play for Obama-era retirees vainly groping for media attention.”
The editorial also cited the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, former Sen. Chris Dodd and former President Jimmy Carter for similar maneuvers during the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.
“In their hearts, left-liberal politicos like Kerry, Kennedy, Dodd, and Carter can’t abide the idea that somebody else is in charge. They enjoy the trappings of office, and they like to pretend they hold office even when they don’t. We will stop well short of calling it traitorous. Instead we’ll call it arrogant and malign,” the Weekly Standard concluded.
THE WHITE HOUSE HAS A HOOSIER MISSION
Both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will pay a call to Indiana on Thursday, bound for a jumbo-sized rally in Elkhart — one that has drawn so much public interest that organizers had switch to a larger venue. In the established Trump tradition, the event is destined to be an enthusiastic celebration of a “booming economy” in the Hoosier State, according to Michael S. Glassner, chief operating officer of Donald J. Trump for President Inc.
“President Trump will also use the rally to remind voters of their unique opportunity to support his America First agenda with an expanded GOP majority in the Senate midterm elections this fall by replacing Sen. Joe Donnelly with our GOP nominee,” says Mr. Glassner.
Indeed, Mr. Donnelly — a Democrat from South Bend — is described as “vulnerable” in several local press reports. He will face Mike Braun, a former state representative who won the Republican primary Tuesday.
“Hoosiers spoke loud and clear. They want a conservative outsider representing them in the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Braun said after his victory. “Our message has been pretty simple — we need more outsiders and less career politicians in Washington. Senator Donnelly is just another career politician who has spent nearly his entire career in politics and government. When he’s in Indiana he acts like one of us, but in Washington he votes against us, against President Trump and in lockstep with the Democrats.”
POLL DU JOUR
• 76 percent of Americans say President Trump should “cooperate” if he is asked to be interviewed in Russian collusion investigation; 53 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of independents and 91 percent of Democrats agree.
• 53 percent say the investigation is “politically motivated”; 88 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats agree.
• 44 percent say the investigation is “justified”; 11 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of independents and 72 percent of Democrats agree.
• 20 percent say Mr. Trump should not cooperate with the investigation; 42 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A CBS News poll of 1,101 U.S. adults conducted May 3-6.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at email@example.com.
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