- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2018

President Trump once again is going for the ultra-personal tactics that revved up Republicans and helped him win the 2016 election. As midterms loom, Mr. Trump is showing up in the heartland — in person and surrounded by American flags — at four of his signature jumbo rallies in the next five days. He was in Tennessee on Monday, then it’s off to Mississippi, Minnesota and Kansas by week’s end.

And therein lies both the charm and the efficacy.

Mr. Trump has perfected his role as a boots-on-the-ground president. He’s there. He enjoys himself. He’s shaking hands, kissing babies, having a conversation with 10,000 people — and careful to preserve the authentic, family-style quality of these events. It works. Mr. Trump looks like a beloved relative who made good rather than an unapproachable celebrity. At their core, Trump voters appear genuinely proud of him. Mr. Trump, in turn, makes sure they know that “Make America Great Again” would not be possible without their support.

The president also has a certain candor — found at rallies and elsewhere.

“I’m not a drinker. I can honestly say I never had a beer in my life, OK? It’s one of my only good traits. I don’t drink, I’ve never had alcohol, you know, for whatever reason. Can you imagine if I had what a mess I’d be? I’d be the world’s worst,” Mr. Trump noted Monday during a discussion of the Brett M. Kavanaugh matter at the White House.

Even the assembled reporters laughed.

All that aside, the president on Tuesday will be in Southaven, Mississippi, a town of about 50,000 people located near the Tennessee line and a mere 14 miles south of Memphis. This is Mr. Tump’s fourth time in Mississippi. Like other rallies, it is all about the locals.

“President Trump will update Mississippi patriots on the great success of his America First agenda that’s improving the lives of families across the Magnolia State. The president will also encourage Mississippians to get out and vote for Cindy Hyde-Smith in November,” says Michael Glassner, CEO for Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

Ms. Hyde-Smith was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant six months ago to fill the Senate seat vacated by Thad Cochran, who resigned from office at age 80 after serving four decades. Ms. Hyde-Smith now faces Republican Chris McDaniel in a special election. It’s complicated.

“Chris McDaniel just won’t take no endorsement from President Trump for an answer. McDaniel, a firebrand Republican who’s running in a Mississippi special Senate election in November, sent out emails Tuesday urging his supporters to attend the Trump rally in Southaven,” reports McClatchy analyst William Douglas.

“Let’s get every America First Conservative out to the rally in support of President Trump,” the spirited McDaniel email advises. “Show the President that Trump Country is McDaniel Country!”

Personal appearances are not confined to the presidency, though. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence journeys to Bozeman, Montana, on behalf of Senate hopeful Matt Rosendale, who describes himself as is “a Trump conservative, straight shooter and a fighter.” Then Mr. Pence is off to Spokane, Washington — set to appear at an event for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

KANYE DIPLOMACY

Kanye West created much hubbub after he wore a red MAGA hat on “Saturday Night Live” and had kind words for President Trump in a speech that did not make it to the air but was seen plenty on social media. The rap superstar was not done, though.

“Kanye West says he’s reached out to Colin Kaepernick — and wants to bring him to Washington D.C. for a special meeting with Donald Trump. West — wearing his Make America Great Again hat — sat down with Harvey Levin on ‘TMZ Live’ on Monday and said he hopes to bring the two sides together so they can work out their issues,” reports the national celebrity gossip show.

“Of course, Donald Trump has been extremely critical of Kaepernick, strongly pressuring NFL owners to fire all of the ‘sons of bitches’ who don’t stand for the national anthem. Kaepernick has said he began kneeling to shine a spotlight on police brutality against black people — but Trump feels the demonstration is disrespectful to the flag and military vets. So, will Kanye succeed in putting together a peace summit between Trump and Kaep? He didn’t say if either side was open to the idea. But Trump has praised Kanye as a brilliant leader, so we’re guessing he would be in,” the show report noted.

22 MONTHS AND COUNTING

The Republican National Committee has made the big reveal: The 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, will be held Aug. 24-27, 2020. The big event will be staged at the Spectrum Center — the same spot where then-President Barack Obama launched his own bid for a second term in 2012.

22 MILLION, NOT 11 MILLION

“When it comes to estimates of the number of illegal aliens living in the United States, the needle has been stuck at 11 million for a decade or more. The evidence suggests that, even accounting for the Great Recession, illegal aliens have continued to enter the country in significant numbers and as the economy improved, illegal immigration numbers have come roaring back,” reports Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington think tank.

“According to an analysis by Yale and MIT researchers recently published in the journal PLOS, their midrange estimate of the illegal alien population is 22 million. Their high range estimate is 29.5 million. Whether these numbers are accurate is disputed by other researchers. But it is still highly plausible that the number of illegal aliens residing in the United States is considerably higher than the commonly accepted 11 million figure,” the organization says in its own analysis.

“It would have long-term political implications, reshaping the electorate for generations to come. A 2012 Center for Immigration Studies report found that after gaining their citizenship, former immigrants registered Democrat 62 percent of the time, and Republican 25 percent of the time,” the analysis says. “Clearly, for Democrats, mass amnesty is just good politics.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 68 percent of Americans say President Trump “stands up for what he believes”; 91 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

• 50 percent say Mr. Trump is able to “get things done”; 87 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

• 49 percent say he “keep his promises”; 85 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree,

• 43 percent say he is “a strong leader”; 80 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

• 38 percent approve of the job he is doing; 79 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,754 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 18-24.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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