- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2019

President Trump might benefit from the huge number of Democrats now seeking the White House. The public appears to be having a hard time sorting out the field, which has now grown to 20 who are ready to run. The sheer volume might drive some frustrated voters to side with Mr. Trump.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. leads the pack of hopefuls with 24% of support among all Americans says an Ipsos/Reuters poll of 4,000 Americans released Wednesday.

Well, of course. Mr. Biden has the instant name recognition, and is set to announce his formal bid for the White House in a video message to be released Thursday and rebroadcast endlessly on cable news. He has already scheduled a splashy fundraiser in Hollywood complete with celebrities, and has some advance high-profile support.

But wait. Let’s move on to who is next in the Democratic popularity contest, according to the new poll. Some candidate named “don’t know” is in close second place with 21% of the vote.

It makes sense that such a big percentage of Americans are undecided or clueless, given that the presidential election is still 19 months off, and that the current bulky roster of candidates could very well expand to 40. Will they fight one another, or suggest a divided party? Would this result in dreaded “bad optics” — and a Trump bump of a different variety?



Meanwhile, the poll found Sen. Bernard Sanders in third place with 15% of the support, followed by Pete Buttigieg with 7%, and Sen. Kamala D. Harris, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and “other,” each with 6%.

Yes, candidate “other” leads the likes of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Cory A. Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and other high-profile lawmakers and elected officials.

Among Democrats themselves, indecision is also a factor. The poll also found that Mr. Biden won 30% of Democratic support, Mr. Sanders 15% — while “don’t know” also got 15% — followed by Mr. Buttigieg with 8% and “other” with 2%.

Republicans were not surveyed for the poll — but independents were. The findings: 34% don’t know who they would vote for in the Democratic field, while Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders each won 14% of the support and candidate “other” followed in third place with 12%.

BORDER CRISIS NOW ‘ABSOLUTE CATASTROPHE’

As of last week, U.S. Border Patrol apprehensions of migrants illegally entering the country now stands at over 418,000 for the year so far. Consider that the number was 404,142 for the entire year in 2018 — and that human smugglers are now showing up heavily armed and in military gear.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan says the border situation is a crisis. John Bash — a U.S. attorney whose territory includes a 600-mile stretch between the Texas cities of El Paso and Eagle Pass — agrees. And then some.

“We have an absolute catastrophe on the southern border. We have border patrol agents, who instead of being in the field, are now in the processing centers dealing with all these people. Our chief in the El Paso sector said their processing center looks like a Walmart because they have so many diapers and food products to care for these families,” Mr. Bash told Fox News.

“What that means is that you have fewer agents in the field. That means we’ll get a lot of people sneaking into the country, not only economic migrants, but drug smugglers, gang members, MS 13. This is industry of smuggling aliens into the country — a $100 million industry,” Mr. Bash said, recommending that the U.S. adopt a smart, practical immigration system as soon as possible.

“There’s no need for this to be a hot-button issue,” he said.

VOTERS DOUBT MUELLER REPORT IS A THREAT

Will Robert Mueller’s report serve as an effective tool to help congressional Democrats impeach President Trump? The majority of voters don’t think so.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 58% of all likely U.S. voters say the findings in the Mueller report are not likely to lead to Mr. Trump’s impeachment — with a third who say it’s not at all likely.

Still, 33% disagree and say the report will help Democrats impeach the president — but only 14% think it’s very likely.

The survey of 1,000 voters was conducted April 22-23.

ONE FOR SGT. JONES

A hero gets a home.

On Thursday, former U.S. Marine Sgt. Rob Jones will be handed the keys to a new home in Virginia in recognition to his service to the nation, and a can-do attitude. He lost both legs in 2010 after encountering a land mine during his deployment to Afghanistan, an event which prompted him to undertake a new mission once he recovered.

In 2014, the Purple Heart recipient began a 181-day, 5,180-mile bike ride from Maine to California to raise money for other wounded veterans, then ran in 31 marathons over 31 consecutive days, once again raising money for veterans’ charities. He also competed last year in the annual Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb NYC, scaling 104 stories and 2,226 steps to the top of One World Observatory.

“Now, he will be starting the next chapter of his life with a brand-new, mortgage-free smart home,” advises the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, named for a firefighter who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks.

The organization is dedicated to raising money for fallen or wounded military and first responders and their families — and has so far given 51 custom homes to such heroes, with intentions to build 149 more.

The organization does it up right. Sgt. Jones and his wife, Pamela Relph, will be escorted to their new home by local police, firefighters and Patriot Guard riders along a flag-lined street. The home itself has been customized in countless ways; the couple also plans to plant a sizable vegetable garden once they settle in. Find more about this very active nonprofit at Tunnel2towers.org.

POLL DU JOUR

69% of the global population say their country has become “more diverse”; 16% say there is no change, 10% say it is less diverse.

68% say that “gender equality” has increased in their country; 22% say there’s no change, 8% say it has decreased.

27% say religion has become more important in their country; 22% say there’s no change, 37% say religion is less important.

15% say family ties in their country have strengthened; 22% say there’s no change, 58% say family ties have weakened.

Source: A Pew Research Global Attitude survey of 30,133 people in 27 countries conducted May-July 2018 and released Sunday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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