- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The news media continues to set off strategic distractions to lure the public away from any good news about President Trump and his administration. But this is a given strategy now. Mr. Trump and his staff continue to take care of business, keep calm and carry on despite press reports suggesting the end is near, or words to that effect.

The reality check: Money in one’s pocket talks louder than rumors and sensationalism. It’s likely going to get more difficult to distract the public as the clock ticks and the reality of positive economic numbers sets in. Meanwhile, here’s the latest update from the economy’s somewhat legendary Trump Bump.

The Consumer Board’s public confidence index in current economic conditions and business prospects rose to 138.4 in September, its highest level in 18 years — and nearing the all-time high of 144.7 in 2000.

“Consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains extremely favorable, bolstered by a strong economy and robust job growth. These historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending, and should be welcome news for retailers as they begin gearing up for the holiday season,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the consumer board itself.

Optimism has also increased. The percentage of consumers anticipating business conditions will improve over the next six months increased from 24.4 percent to 27.6 percent, while those expecting business conditions will worsen declined, from 9.9 percent to 8.0 percent.

Consumers’ outlook for the labor market was also more upbeat. The proportion expecting more jobs in the months ahead increased from 21.5 percent to 22.5 percent, while those anticipating fewer jobs decreased from 13.2 percent to 11.0 percent.


Veteran pollster John Zogby is also following the economic outlook, citing record-low unemployment, increasing wages, new manufacturing and healthy growth in gross domestic product. The current trends could have an effect on the upcoming election — but not for the Democrats.

“A blue wave coming? Possibly, but just not yet,” Mr. Zogby writes in his extensive analysis of voter sentiments across many demographics, and in several states.

“The Democrats still have to show they have a better plan to address the nation’s problems. You may get to use your navy blue crayon to color the political map this year. But not just yet,” Mr. Zogby emphasizes.


Democratic strategists indeed appear to be fretting about the state of that blue wave, which they promised was building as the midterm elections loom on the horizon.

Maybe not.

“The generic ballot has been an important indicator of whether or not Democrats will be able to flip the Senate. First: pollster Nate Silver said Democrats needed an 11-point lead in the generic ballot if we wanted to flip the Senate. Then: Polls from CNN and NPR showed us with 10- and 12-point leads earlier this month. Now: A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows GOP enthusiasm catching up,” states the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in a new voter outreach.

“We have the momentum and a real path to the Majority, but this poll should set off alarm bells. We can’t get complacent if we want to flip the Senate. We’ve always known that things can change in a heartbeat. Big news can break, major events can change voters’ priorities — we have to be ready for anything,” advised the organization, which has also has launched a fundraising effort titled “Protect our lead.”


There is much talk about victimhood these days, and the discussion is often generic, heavy-handed and melodramatic. Some are now wondering about the more exacting specifics of this trend, as applied to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, who recently gave a personal interview to Fox News, accompanied by Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, his wife of 14 years.

“The Fox News interview shows that the Kavanaugh family are the real victims,” writes American Thinker editor and publisher Thomas Lifson.

“The entire appeal of the assault on Brett Kavanaugh’s character has been based on the left’s adherence to the ideology of victimology. In any political situation, there are oppressors and victims, and ‘justice’ demands that the victims triumph. Regardless of the facts. That is why Senator Mazie Hirono, with enough intelligence to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Hawaii and graduate from Georgetown Law School, forever discredited herself by telling men to ‘shut up and step up.’ Women are the victims of sexual harassment, and that’s all that matters,” Mr. Lifson says.

“But with the moving Fox News interview of Judge and Mrs. Kavanaugh, Americans got a view of the way in which this man and his family have been deeply hurt,” he observes.

Things perhaps could change for Mr. Kavanaugh on Thursday, should initial accuser Christine Blasey Ford reveal all the particulars of her concerns.

“Americans will see this genuine man genuinely arguing that these alleged acts could never have been performed by him, and the evidence supports him. The victimization of him and his family will be evident, and the scandal will receive blowback from Americans not consumed with Trump Derangement Syndrome,” predicts Mr. Lifson.


Fox News Channel once again lorded over all basic cable offerings last week, according to Nielsen Media Research, marking 37 consecutive weeks as the most-watched network of all.

Fox News also claimed 12 of the top 25 cable telecasts: “Justice with Judge Jeanine” was the top rated program Saturday, and “Life, Liberty and Levin” won the Sunday lineup — each show drew over 2 million viewers. Fox is still the top-dog news channel with 2.8 million prime time viewers compared to 2 million for MSNBC and 947,000 for CNN. This has been the case for over 16 years.

Fox Business Network, meanwhile, remains the most watched of the business genre, besting rival CNBC by 20 percent in the ratings. “Varney & Co.” is now marking 70 consecutive weeks as the most watched market program on TV.


68 percent of Americans think news organizations tend to favor one side when reporting on political and social issues: 86 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

65 percent overall say that news media criticism keeps political leaders “in line”; 38 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent overall say media criticism can prevent politicians from actually doing their job; 23 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

28 percent overall have “a lot of trust” in news information from local news organizations; 23 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent overall have “a lot of trust” in news information from national news organizations; 12 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

13 percent overall have “a lot of trust” in news information from friends and family; 16 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

4 percent overall have “a lot of trust” in news information on social media; 3 percent of Republicans and 6 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 5,035 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 22-March 4 and released Tuesday.

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