- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2020

President Trump journeys to Wildwood, New Jersey, on Tuesday, site of another jumbo campaign rally with all the trimmings. And more. A record-breaking 100,000 hopeful Trump fans have asked for tickets; the faithful have been lining up with sleeping bags and lawn chairs for the event since Sunday. Some sense that the Garden State — faced with tax woes and policy disagreements — could be back in touch with Republican values.

“The atmosphere is intense, the motivation is huge. These people are so proud of President Trump, so ready to support him,” Priscilla Confrey — co-director of the 17,000-member grassroots group New Jersey Women for Trump — told Inside the Beltway as she watched the cheerful, enthusiastic crowd.

“I feel like what is happening in New Jersey is a microcosm of what is happening across the rest of the nation. We are considered a blue state. But we’re not anymore. The feeling we get is that we’re blue turning purple — and going towards red,” she said.

Her fellow co-director Tracey Lore believes that New Jersey voters — including those uneasy Republicans who did not vote in 2016 — have had a change of heart.

“Yes, people didn’t vote back then. Now President Trump is motivating the base with optimistic messages and clear, positive results from his decisions made in office. The people are seeing that. They also are supporting Trump because they don’t want the state of New Jersey to become the East Coast version of California,” Ms. Lore told Inside The Beltway.



“Our message to everyone is straightforward. We’re telling people to vote for Trump, use your voice, band together, bring five people with you to the polls on election day in November. We’re not going to listen to what the polls and liberal media are telling us,” she added.

Another local insider offers insight to what could be an emerging pattern for Mr. Trump — campaigning in heavily Democratic regions, with some potentially startling results. Some predict the Wildwood rally is a test case for the Garden State and beyond.

“It will also resonate beyond the Jersey shore, drawing in suburban Philadelphia voters at a moment when Pennsylvania is a must-win for the president in 2020,” Seth Grossman — an attorney who in 2018 ran against Rep. Jefferson Van Drew — told The Associated Press.

Mr. Van Drew, a lawmaker who left the Democratic Party and became a Republican in December, is motivated.

“He’s sending a message that it’s OK for Democrats to embrace Trump and Republicans, as opposed to feeling obligated to stay in the Democratic Party,” Mr. Grossman said.

IMPEACHMENT: THE ‘YEAH, WHATEVER’ FACTOR

Most voters think President Trump’s impeachment will not affect his reelection says a new Rasmussen Reports poll. It finds that 31% of likely voters say the impeachment process will actually help the president while another 31% say it will have no impact on his campaign efforts. About a quarter — 27% — say impeachment will damage Mr. Trump’s chances of reelection.

“Even among Democrats, only 40% think Trump’s reelection effort will be hurt by his impeachment. Just 16% of Republicans and 25% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree,” said the poll of 1,000 likely voters, which was conducted January 23-26.

‘85 MILLION ACRES’

The National Park Service has a unique challenge in the nation’s capital. Many scenic roads in the area have become major commuter routes with massive maintenance challenges. That said, the federal parks agency revels that it has made considerable headway improving half a dozen iconic roadways such as the tree-lined George Washington and Clara Barton parkways, among others. Some 50 miles worth of roads, shoulders and parking lots have been rehabilitated.

Yay. But there are future challenges.

“Across the United States, the National Park Service faces a maintenance backlog of more than $11.9 billion. This total refers to repairs NPS has had to delay due to lack of funding. In the Greater Washington area, the NPS maintenance backlog is nearly $2 billion, $900 million of which is for vital transportation systems,” says the agency, which manages 419 parks and a total of 85 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

FRONT-RUNNER? WHAT FRONT-RUNNER?

Even the grassroots voters are a little jittery about the outcome of the Iowa caucuses next week.

“Iowa Democrats pride themselves on voting first — and picking winners. Since the Iowa caucuses began kicking off the presidential nominating process in 1972, the victor has marched on to become the Democratic nominee in seven of the last 10 open primary contests, including in the last four: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry and Al Gore,” writes David Cantanese, national political correspondent for McClatchy.

“But in 2020, they fear it will be different. After more than a year of nonstop campaigning from upwards of two dozen candidates, there’s a sense of foreboding among Democrats of all stripes that their state won’t provide much clarity on who will ultimately become the party’s standard-bearer,” he says.

“That means a jumbled field without a strong front-runner may remain unchanged as the race moves on to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the other three states to vote in February,” Mr. Cantanese adds.

“I simply do not see anybody winning by a huge margin,” Dale Todd, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, told him. “The organizations are very similar. The resources being distributed are very similar. The ads are on all the time but they aren’t moving anybody. It’s all about who peaks at the right time. That final weekend, who is going to have the juice and who is going to inspire people?”

POLL DU JOUR

74% of Americans say politics are becoming more divisive: 63% of Hispanics, 66% of African Americans and 78% of whites agree.

18% neither agree or disagree with this idea; 25% of Hispanics, 24% of African Americans and 14% of whites agree.

5% disagree with the about it statement; 4% of Hispanics, 4% of African Americans and 3% of whites agree.

4% don’t know how they feel; 4% of Hispanics, 4% of African Americans and 3% of whites agree.

Source: A Vice/IPSOS poll of 2.013 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 8-10 and released Friday.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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