- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Should Democratic candidates coddle moderate voters with reasonable proposals or go for the glamorous far-left agenda and all its media furor?

The answer could lie in tracking the micropolitics of local races in search of helpful trends or insight. That is exactly what the National Republican Congressional Committee is doing, in keeping with its mission of increasing the number of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Take New Jersey, for instance. The organization’s communications director Michael McAdams says that the current congressional hopefuls are facing “impeachment summer.” While noisy, angry voters have backed socialist Democrats’ “politically disastrous plan” to impeach President Trump — the idea does not appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Andy Kim of the state’s 3rd Congressional District — which Mr. Trump won in 2016 — could be alienating a large population of voters with melodramatic impeachment talk in a swing district he barely won, Mr. McAdams advises. Meanwhile, progressive activists staged a recent pro-impeachment rally at the office of Rep. Josh Gottheimer in the 5th District — a region full of independent voters which the lawmaker cannot afford to alienate.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill of the 11th District — who served as a Navy combat helicopter pilot — also has an issue.



“The deranged drumbeat from the left demanding President Trump’s impeachment has reached a fever pitch for Mikie Sherrill, as she was shouted down at her most recent town hall for refusing to pursue impeachment,” Mr. McAdams observes.

“Sherrill faces the same quandary as her fellow vulnerable New Jersey Democrats — commit political suicide and back impeachment in a district President Trump won, or continue to upset her rabid base, who she needs to win reelection. Either way she’s in trouble,” he says.

This is just one state, of course. But the phenomenon is not lost on canny GOPers who are poised to detect any advantages they can glean for 2020, no matter how small. The dynamics are beginning to surface among prominent Democrats as well.

“Electability is key, and I think it’s clear that a more moderate candidate is what we need to beat Donald Trump. We have to win the center and win independent voters,” 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful John Delaney tells Fox News.

“We can’t have these impossible promises that some of the people on the left are running on. We need new ideas, real solutions. Most people are realizing that such ideas as ‘Medicare for All’ are terrible policy and also terrible politics,” said the former congressman from Maryland.

Take-away lessons appear local.

“I think what people are thinking in the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire, is very different than what’s kind of going on in what I call the social media primary, where there’s just this kind of competition to see who can put out more extreme ideas, more impossible promises, more fairy-tale economics,” Mr. Delaney noted. “In reality I think what most Democrats are looking for is someone who can really solve problems.”

THE GOP WAR CHEST

Numbers often speak volumes, particularly when the news media offers multiple reports that the Republican Party is losing support, or words to that effect. This is not happening if donations are any measure.

The Republican National Committee reveals that the party received a record-breaking $20.8 million in July, the largest ever “off-cycle” July haul. The GOP now has as a total of $117.9 million in the bank for the 2020 electoral cycle.

The party, incidentally, also has no debt whatsoever. As of late Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee had yet to reveal its fundraising spoils for the month of July; the party did raise $8.5 million in June, however.

HEADLINE OF NOTE

“Is America poised to reelect President Trump?”

That was a morning headline from CNN on Tuesday, which included commentary from “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota regarding Mr. Trump and his campaign activities.

“What is this magic that he doles out?” she asked her guests.

FACEBOOK STILL TRYING TO GO LEGIT

Can viable news share space with endless personal commentary, political agendas and how-to videos? Occasionally embattled Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks so — conveniently just in time for the 2020 election.

“Facebook executives tell Axios they’re hiring seasoned journalists to help curate a forthcoming ‘News Tab’ that they hope will change how millions get news,” writes Axios editor Mike Allen.

He says the new news toy is an attempt “to restore the sanity and credibility that’s lost in the chaos of our main feeds” — and also constitutes an effort by Facebook to develop a “healthier relationship with publishers, many of whom have had their business models destroyed by social platforms.”

Which means money. The social media giant will pay dozens of publishers to license their content for News Tab. Facebook also aspires to actually give credit to the new organizations which break major stories, rather than giving the credit to a news aggregator.

“A small team of journalists will pick stories for a Top News section,” Mr. Allen says.

Yes, well. Who makes up the “small team” is of pivotal importance. Facebook could also use a liberal bias detector, perhaps. But that is another story.

The new Facebook project will be here sooner than we think, though. A News Tab test for 200,000 users begins in October, with a national outreach expected early next year.

FOXIFIED

For the 32nd week in a row, Fox News Channel emerged as the most-watched basic cable network of all throughout the day and into prime-time according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox News led the pack with 2.4 million prime-time viewers, followed by MSNBC with 1.6 million, HGTV with 1.2 million and USA Network with 1.1 million. CNN was 12th in line with 866,000.

And the heavyweights: Presentations of “Hannity,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “The Five,” “Special Report with Bret Baier” and “The Story” made up 19 of the top 30 telecasts. And of note: Shows hosted by Sean Hannity and Mr. Carlson delivered the top seven telecasts of the week.

POLL DU JOUR

16% of Americans describe themselves as “very conservative.”

17% say they are “somewhat conservative.”

36% say they are “moderate.”

14% say they are “somewhat liberal”

12% say they are “very liberal.”

5% are “not sure” of their ideology.

Source: AN NBC NEWS/WALL STREET JOURNAL poll of 1,000 U.S. ADULTS conducted AUG. 10-14.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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