- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2019

Well, here we are in holiday shopping season, which somehow arrived despite endless impeachment hearings, partisan discord and a hostile media. Even President Trump’s online campaign store staged a big Black Friday sale, with 35% off all that interesting merchandise with a distinctive Trump theme.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump will likely smile when considering the details of the season.

According to the National Retail Federation, sales will total up to $730.7 billion in that period. And there appears to be the proverbial “Trump Bump” present as well: Consumers are predicted to spend an average $1,047.83 each. That’s an increase of 4% over this time last year.


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Though there are a mere 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, the retail group says shoppers are raring to go. Some 165.3 million people will flock to stores and settle in for online purchases from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.

They are attracted by good deals, of course — plus a kind of hybrid shopping culture.



“Tradition and the social aspects of spending time with friends and family also play a role,” the retail organization says.

Clothes and accessories are at the top of the gift list in 2019, followed by gift cards, toys; books, music, movies or video games; and food or candy.

Good luck out there.

WHAT NOT TO BUY

Holiday shopping madness is underway, and Forbes analyst Sergei Klebnikov has advice on what not to buy. Yes, what not to buy. He cites current data from marketing companies Adobe Digital Insights and RetailMeNot.com, which offer a few insider tips of the moment.

Mr. Klebnikov cautions against purchasing health and fitness items like gym equipment, sneakers and athletic gear; he says discounts and sales will arrive early in the new year. Ditto for bedding and linens: January is the traditional prime time for whites sales.

“Avoid home appliances. Overseas tariffs and pricing pressures are generally making home appliances more expensive,” he says, noting that discounts on furniture are also few and far between at this juncture.

The best prices on toys, meanwhile, can be found about two weeks before Christmas. For those who wonder, Barbie and Lego-related anything are the big sellers. Lower prices on smart phones will be scarce.

“New versions are not really going to be discounted, because companies will want to preserve the margins and not bring down pricing — they’ll instead offer gift cards and other promotions with smartphones in a bundled deal,” Mr. Klebnikov advises.

SOCIALISM LOSES OUT

A new poll by The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports finds voters have little taste for socialism, candidates who identify as socialists, or the repeal of the Second Amendment.

Asked which is better, “a free-market economic system or socialism,” 69% choose a free market system, 12% chose socialism, and 18% were not sure. The survey revealed that 87% of Republicans preferred the free market, along with 69% of independents and 53% of Democrats.

Only 26% of voters said they’d vote for a presidential candidate who identifies as a socialist while 50% said they would not. Among voters between the ages of 18 and 39, however, 42% said they would opt for a socialist president.

The poll also had news for two Democratic presidential hopefuls with socialist tendencies: Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernard Sanders had unfavorable ratings of 49% and 48%, respectively. The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Nov. 13-14.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

“Is impeachment backfiring on the Democrats?” asks David Harsanyi, a senior writer for National Review.

“Judged strictly on political grounds, it doesn’t seem to be making progress. Impeachment is a political process. No sentient being, after all, believes that Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi are good-faith guardians of constitutional order. And judging the process strictly on political grounds, it hasn’t been a success for Democrats,” he writes.

“For one thing, impeachment, if it happens, will effectively end up being a partisan censure of the president. Democrats haven’t gotten any closer to convincing a single Senate Republican to contemplate removing the president. Certainly not Mitch McConnell, who says there will be a quick trial. Not even Mitt Romney who, at this point, is aptly troubled but uncommitted,” Mr. Harsanyi says.

“Democrats and the media have covered every development of the many investigations into Trump, tending into histrionics. That has, in many ways, obscured legitimate criticism of the president. By constantly overpromising and under-delivering, Democrats have guaranteed not only skepticism but apathy from voters outside their own tribe,” he later adds.

FOXIFIED

Fox News remains the most-watched cable network of all for the 46th consecutive week, acing such non-news rivals as ESPN and the Hallmark Channel according to Nielsen Media Research.

Fox News continues to best the news competition as well, drawing 3 million prime-time viewers, compared to 2.4 million for MSNBC and 1.8 million for CNN. Fox News also was the No. 1 network of all during two weeks of impeachment coverage, averaging 2.5 million daily viewers.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Historic Main Street “stunner,” a classic colonial built in 1795 on one acre in Cromwell, Connecticut. Seven bedrooms, four baths, formal dining, living and great rooms; music room, parlor; chef’s kitchen with pantry. Leaded glass windows, full basement and attic; 3,614 square feet. Five-car garage, in-ground pool, redwood garden shed, much landscaping and “peaceful” garden. Priced at $479,900 through Raveis.com; enter 170240665 in search function, under “quick search.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 77% of Black Friday shoppers will only buy an item if it is on sale.

• 54% say their holiday purchases will be items they “would have bought anyway.”

• 49% will shop on Cyber Monday, 41% on Black Friday.

• 28% will shop on Small Business Saturday.

• 40% will shop both in-store and online.

• 37% will shop online only, 29% in-store only.

Source: A USA Today/IPSOS poll of 1,004 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 20-21.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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