- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 26, 2020

Impeachment drama may be center stage, but Joe vs. Bernie makes for a noisy, engaging sideshow. The intense battle between Democratic presidential candidates has winnowed the field down to 12, with leading men Sen. Bernard Sanders and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden vying for the same audience with similar messages. The clash between these Democratic titans is fast and furious as the Iowa caucus approaches.

“It’s a tight and fluid race heading into the final week in Iowa. Bernie Sanders is at 26% and Joe Biden at 25% as top preferences of likely caucus-goers,” reports a new CBS News poll of over a thousand Democratic voters.

“Biden leads on perceived ability to protect the U.S. from terrorism, and Democrats say he’s prepared to be commander in chief. Sanders has the most solidly committed supporters, as he has in recent weeks. Sanders outpaces the field on being seen as someone who ‘fights for people like you,’” CBS says.

It is a “battle for working class voters,” observes New Yorker political analyst Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who covers politics for The New Yorker.

Oh, but it’s complicated. The two front-runners are offering a common man appeal in two distinctly different styles. Mr. Sanders pushes a sanitized version of socialism with much vigor, Mr. Biden offers an old-school vision of happy, working America.



“The demands that each candidate is making of working-class Democrats are different but weighty. Biden is asking that they place their trust in him personally, above any political program — in his judgment, in his good faith, in the significance of his history with Barack Obama. But Sanders is in some ways making an even more ambitious demand: that they believe in the transformative power of politics itself,” writes Mr. Wallace-Wells.

“One vision expands politics until it encompasses the culture; the other aims to shrink it until it fits once again in the Senate chamber, in a trusted figure in the Oval Office, in imperfect deals cut in good faith,” he adds.

SOME TELLING NUMBERS

First question: Are Americans paying attention to the ongoing impeachment “process” against President Trump? Uh, not particularly.

Nielsen Media Research numbers reveal that 4 million viewers tuned in to CBS, ABC and NBC on Wednesday to watch the opening arguments of the Senate trial. In contrast, more than 11 million chose to watch daytime soap operas on the three networks airing at the same time, according to a handy analysis from Newsbusters.org.

A Reuters study, meanwhile, found that the total number of viewers who tuned in CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC dropped by 19% in the first 24 hours, falling from 11 million to 8.9 million.

Second question: Are Democratic efforts to damage Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in office? Uh, no.

More than two-thirds of Americans — 68% — says the president is not going to leave office before the presidential election, according to new findings from an Economist/YouGov survey. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

A MOST TELLING HEADLINE

“People are traveling hundreds of miles to see Trump in Wildwood,” notes a new headline from NJ.com, referring to President Trump’s campaign appearance Tuesday at a campaign rally staged at Wildwood, a seaside town in New Jersey.

A record-breaking 100,000 people have requested for the event in the Garden State, which also features Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, the New Jersey lawmaker who walked away from the Democratic Party in December and became a Republican. His example has set the nation wondering about New Jersey, where citizens are troubled by high taxes and cumbersome regulations.

“The Wildwoods were my old stomping grounds when I was younger,” David Neild — who now lives in North Carolina — told NJ.com, adding that he is eager to make the 10-hour drive north.

“Having the president visit there is historic, and I want to be part of history. I want to support our president. This is an exciting time for New Jersey,” Mr. Neild said.

NEVER A DULL MOMENT

Travel Channel host and chef Andrew Zimmern soon will appear as the point-man on “What’s Eating America” on MSNBC. Mr. Zimmern will link food to political and social issues such as immigration, climate change, addiction, voting rights, and health care to food and the everyday lives of Americans.

“There is no more important time than right now to be telling stories about civics, politics and culture through food. Kitchen table civics and food politics have been absent from our dialogue at this level for a long time,” Mr. Zimmern observes.

The new series premieres Feb. 16 at 9 p.m. EST.

PROMISING NEWS

“Americans are more optimistic about race relations in this country than they have been in several years,” says a new Rasmussen Reports survey, which finds that 34% of Americans rate race relations in the U.S. as “good or excellent.”

That is an increase from 25% a year ago and an all-time low of 18% in 2016, during President Obama’s final year in the White House.

Another 31% still say race relations are “poor.”

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted Jan. 19-20.

POLL DU JOUR

43% of U.S. adults say it is “not likely at all” that President Trump will leave office before the presidential election; 69% of Republicans, 41% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

20% say it is “not very likely” that Mr. Trump will leave office; 14% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 24% of Democrats agree.

16% are “unsure” about the matter; 6% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 15% of Democrats agree.

14% say it is “somewhat likely” Mr. Trump will leave office; 7% of Republicans, 12% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree.

7% say it is “very likely” that he will leave office; 4% of Republicans, 4% of independents and 15% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 19-21

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