- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Could it be doubt, disinterest or just plain weariness? Democratic voters could be wavering in their zeal for the 2020 presidential election — still over 500 days off. Yes, 500 days. Maybe the voters already have election fatigue, since there are 20 Democratic hopefuls to track, with more likely to arrive any minute. One surprising source has an observation.

That would be NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, and two of his network colleagues.

Democrats had two advantages that fueled their midterm victories in November 2018 — an edge in enthusiasm and success with independent voters. Six months later, just one of those advantages remains,” Mr. Todd writes, along with analysts Mark Murray and Carrie Dann.

“In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 75 percent of Republican registered voters say they have high interest in the 2020 presidential election — registering a ‘9’ or ‘10’ on a 10-point scale — versus 73 percent of Democratic voters who say the same thing. That’s quite a change from the 2018 cycle, when Democrats held a double-digit lead on this question until the last two months before the election, when the GOP closed the gap but still trailed the Dems in enthusiasm,” the trio observed.

“It’s just one poll, but the numbers are a reminder that presidential elections are always different than midterm cycles. And they should correct any Dem thinking that assumes — ‘Hey, we have Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the bag because we won there in 2018’ — since GOP enthusiasm now is much higher,” they said.



BIG BIDEN BROADCAST BOOST

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden consistently leads the pack of Democratic hopefuls in the 2020 presidential race. Some analysts point to name recognition as a factor. Others cite the broadcast news media.

“Despite the presence of more than 20 announced candidates, Biden was rewarded with by far the lion’s share of the coverage: 77% of candidate airtime (52 minutes),” reported Media Research Center analyst Rich Noyes, in a new study of evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC during the entire month of April.

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg each got less than five minutes of airtime, Sen. Elizabeth Warren got three minutes. No other candidate received even one minute of evening news airtime in April, Mr. Noyes found.

“The evening news did another favor for Biden: The scandal involving his unwanted touching of several women, which dominated campaign news in early April, was largely ignored in coverage of his announcement in late April. From March 30 through April 5, the networks spent more than 26 minutes on the scandal. But in coverage of Biden’s campaign rollout between April 23 and April 30, the scandal received a puny 92 seconds of evening news airtime,” Mr. Noyes said.

SOFT POWER

President Trump “expressed support” for South Korea’s possible humanitarian food assistance for North Korea during a phone conversation with South Korea President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday according to Yonhap, a Seoul-based news agency.

“During the 35-minute conversation, Moon briefed Trump on his government’s position on North Korea’s launch of ‘short-range projectiles,’ including a tactical guided weapon, over the weekend. And they discussed ways to keep Pyongyang on the dialogue track despite the weaponry display,” Yonhap noted.

“The two leaders exchanged views as well on a joint report by the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization that 10 million people in the impoverished communist nation — 40% of the population — are in urgent need of food. President Trump assessed that South Korea’s provision of food to North Korea in a humanitarian move will be very timely, a positive step and he supports it,” a spokesperson for Mr. Moon’s office said.

The exchange marks the 21st round of phone talks between the two leaders.

ELECTION 2020, A CONVENIENT SUMMARY

“The economy, economy, economy — period. When you have five million jobs created under President Trump, when you have over 3% GDP under President Trump, when you have wages growing and the lowest unemployment for African-Americans, for Hispanics, for Asians, for women, in a significant period of time, I don’t know how the Democrats can say ‘we’ll make a better case to get this economy humming’ when President Trump has done so well. What are they going to run on? Socialism is not the answer,” Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tells Fox News, in surveying the 2020 election landscape.

THOSE PESKY FEDERAL REGS

The national debt is not the only thing measured in trillions of dollars. Consider “Ten Thousand Commandments,” a substantial new study released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute which found that the burden of endless government rules now amounts to an estimated $1.9 trillion — a “hidden tax of regulation” according to study author Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president of policy at the nonprofit organization.

“This is greater than the corporate and personal income taxes combined,” Mr. Crews noted in the research, which is based on available government data. “Each U.S. household’s estimated regulatory burden is at least $14,615 annually on average. That amounts to 20% of the average pre-tax household budget and exceeds every item in that budget, except housing. Regulatory burdens can operate as a hidden tax. Unlike on-budget spending, regulatory costs are largely obscured from public view,” he said.

“The 2019 report charts new territory as it updates the progress made as a result of President Trump’s efforts to cut red tape via executive order, the most aggressive effort at regulatory reform in over a quarter century,” the study said, though it offers a caution.

“The long-term agenda of the government’s executive agencies could easily stray back toward bureaucratic overreach without permanent reform by Congress,” the study noted.

POLL DU JOUR

56% of the world’s population predict there will be a “greater variety of beer, wine and liquor” in 10 years.

55% predict that marijuana for medical use will be legal in 10 years.

48% predict use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices will be higher in a decade.

47% predict consumption of beer, wine and liquor and use of illegal drugs will be higher in a decade.

33% predict that marijuana for recreational use will be legal in 10 years.

Source: An IPSOS Global Advisor poll of 18,638 adults in 29 countries conducted Nov. 26-Dec. 7 and released Monday.

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