- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 2, 2020

Welcome to the premier bout of the 2020 election. The Iowa caucuses have fired up and will draw 24 hours of intense attention as Democratic hopefuls strut their stuff and Republicans nod serenely. Then there are the independent candidates, who also have news. Transhumanist, futurist, tech-centric, independent GOP presidential hopeful Zoltan Istvan — whose campaign motto is “Upgrade America” — reports that things are not quite as chilly in Iowa as he expected them to be.

“My presidential campaign has been based on being a new type of Republican — one that’s more open-minded about the future, about the vast social differences across the nation, and about how the world is being changed by new science and technologies like artificial intelligence and genetic editing. That message is pretty tough to get across to Iowans, who tend to be more traditional,” Mr. Istvan tells Inside the Beltway.

He will circulate among the Iowa caucuses alongside GOP independents Joe Walsh and Bill Weld. But Mr. Istvan is optimistic that his message will play well in Peoria and the rest of the state.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people here, especially in Des Moines where some of the public are worried about catching coronavirus from all the journalists and candidate teams arriving in the city. They’ve got other concerns. They’re telling me they’re going to be watching me closely, and that my time might soon come. That has been very encouraging,” Mr. Istvan observes.


Meanwhile, here is how the press is framing Iowa’s big moment. Some headlines from the last 24 hours:

“Revolution or return to decency? 2020 Democrats final Iowa arguments show their case against Trump” (CNBC); “The choice: Best candidate, or the most electable?” (The Des Moines Register); “The first votes of the 2020 election could clarify the election — or muddle it” (The Philadelphia Inquirer); “How the Iowa caucuses work, and why they’re more confusing in 2020” (Vox); “Iowa caucuses considered a crucible of the 2020 primary” (ABC News); “Candidates make a final, frantic push before caucus night” (The Washington Post); “Iowa will be the first test case for 2020 election security” (The New York Times).


Looks like the impeachment process is sparking public interest for an unusual reason. In an official “trend watch,” the Merriam-Webster dictionary reveals that the number of people looking up the word “perfidy” spiked by 25,200% on Friday.

“Why are people looking up perfidy? Perfidy snuck its way to the top of the lookup chart on January 31, 2020, after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer used it to describe Senate Republicans‘ vote to block witnesses in the Trump impeachment trial,” the dictionary source noted.

“Perfidy is a noun meaning ‘the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal; treachery’ or ‘an act or an instance of disloyalty.’ The word derives from the Latin perfidus, meaning ‘faithless,’ which is itself made of per- (‘detrimental to’) and fides (‘faith’),” Merriam-Webster said.

It also points out that Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. recently warned both sides in the impeachment battle to stop “pettifogging.” The lookups on that word spiked by 30,800% on Jan. 22, when Justice Roberts used the word. So, uh, what does it mean?

“The noun pettifogger has two main senses: ‘A lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable; shyster’ and ‘one given to quibbling over trifles.’ To pettifog is ‘to engage in legal chicanery’ or ‘to quibble over insignificant details,’” the dictionary advised.


The news media may be giddy over the ongoing impeachment drama because it gives them something to do. No, really. Without crisis, the media is often all dressed up with nowhere to go. Voters, however, appear to be sick of the whole thing, and resentment could be growing.

“Most voters oppose the U.S. Senate’s removal of President Trump from office and say that decision should be left up to them in November,” says a Rasmussen Reports survey that spells out the sentiment.

It found that 52% of likely U.S. voters believe that Mr. Trump’s fate should be decided by voters in the next election. That includes 71% of Republicans and a significant 61% of independents.

“Men, women and voters of all ages agree that Trump’s future is better left up to voters,” the survey says.

Among those who strongly approve of the president, 96% want voters to make the big decision. There are those who disagree of course: 44% overall think the Senate should remove the president from office instead; 73% of Democrats agree with this — along with 88% of voters who strongly disapprove of Mr. Trump. The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Jan. 29-30.


Fox Business Network has assembled a half-dozen telling numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that offer straightforward insight into the state of the nation during President Trump’s time in office. Here are the national unemployment rates during the past six administrations according to the federal agency:

Unemployment currently is 3.8% during Mr. Trump’s time in office. It was 9.3% during Barack Obama’s era, 5.5% during George W. Bush’s time in office, 6.2% during Bill Clinton’s era, 5.9% for George H.W. Bush’s tenure and 9% during Ronald Reagan’s administration.


30% of U.S. voters say the impeachment of President Trump is “helping his chances of reelection”; 53% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 12% of Democrats agree.

29% say impeachment is “hurting his chances of reelection”; 15% of Republicans, 26% of independents and 42% of Democrats agree.

22% say impeachment is “having no impact in the chances of reelection”; 20% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 24% of Democrats agree.

19% have no opinion on the issue or don’t know; 12% of Republicans, 25% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,992 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 29030.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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