- The Washington Times - Monday, May 4, 2020

After sightings of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un recently ceased for a time, the hermit nation offered some brisk public outreach, releasing considerable video footage revealing his public activities. Some wonder what really happened.

“When it comes to North Korea — despite all of the hype — I think the most logical explanation is that Kim Jong-un either had coronavirus or was concerned enough about infection that he decided he needed to do his own version on sheltering in place,” Harry J. Kazianis tells Inside the Beltway.

He is senior director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest, a nonpartisan think tank, by the way.

“While North Korea does take in small amounts of international aid at the moment, for Pyongyang to accept massive amount of help the regime would have to be on death’s door. North Korea, for example, did not accept any sort of international intervention when a million or more people died due to mass starvation in the 1990s. If they endured that without large amounts of aid and a big international presence in the country, it’s hard to see that happening now,” notes Mr. Kazianis.

He advises that Kim Jong-un is not likely to forget the 2018 Denuclearization Agreement with President Trump — or the presidential election. It could also be business as usual for the reclusive leader.



“I would argue Kim will continue on to test artillery, rockets and short range missiles all summer and into the fall. He will, however, not violate the promise he made to President Trump and he will hold on testing any long-range missiles or nuclear weapons. He know that would likely spawn a crisis — even bring Trump back to the days of 2017 with threats of fire and fury. However, that also means Kim will not negotiate until he knows if Trump is going to be reelected. We should expect a relatively quiet North Korea — at least until after the November elections,” predicts Mr. Kazianis.

REOPENING: IT’S COMPLICATED

Have mixed feelings about the reopening of America once the pandemic restrictions are lifted? You are not alone.

“Voters are more eager to get back to work but aren’t convinced things will be returning to normal for many by next month. Most remain worried, too, that they’ll get the coronavirus if they return to the workplace,” says a new Rasmussen Reports poll.

It found that 43% of voters think it’s time for America to get back to work. But not so fast. Another 65% say they are “personally concerned” about getting sick if they go back to work.

The survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters was conducted April 30-May 3.

THE SIX STATES TO WATCH

The coronavirus pandemic has altered major campaigning for the time being. The concept of battleground states, however, remains a constant.

“President Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s campaigns are surveying a relatively stable political battlefield that will be concentrated largely in just about a half dozen states: the former ‘blue wall’ states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the traditional swing states of Florida and North Carolina, and the emerging battleground of Arizona,” writes David Cantanese, national political correspondent for McClatchy DC.

“The common thread among these six states at the center of the general election map is that they were all carried by Trump in 2016, and that the president currently trails in many of the early polls there, leaving him mostly on defense heading into November,” the analyst observes.

‘POLITICAL MONSTER’

Young voters loyal to socialism could compromise Joseph R. Biden’s chances of winning the White House. How? Easy. This huge demographic still has a crush on former presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders.

“Although it’s very likely a Biden presidency would move the country in a more extreme-left direction, the more socialistic policies America’s youth have come to believe are essential ‘rights’ wouldn’t be put into place as quickly as they would under a Sanders presidency, a political reality many young leftists believe to be completely unacceptable,” writes Heartland institute analyst Justin Haskins in an essay for Fox News.

“This has put liberals in an extremely difficult situation. The further to the left they move, the more difficult it will be for them to win in vital, more moderate swing states, which is precisely why the Democratic Party establishment chose the mostly unappealing Biden as party nominee. However, the more moderate the party appears, the less enthusiastic and more disenfranchised young progressives and socialists have become,” says Mr. Haskins.

“In transforming U.S. schools and colleges into socialist indoctrination centers, the Left has created a whole generation of uncompromising young voters who believe anything short of Bernie’s radicalism is intolerable and even corrupt. It’s a political monster that liberals can no longer control, and it could have a far-reaching impact on the 2020 race.”

BYPASSING THE MEDIA AGAIN

President Trump continues to bypass hostile news organizations with new online campaign events independent of major media. The schedule: Latinos for Trump Online with host Kimberly Guilfoyle (Tuesday); Team Trump Online with Donald Trump Jr. (Wednesday); Faith in America: Black Voices for Trump (Thursday); Vote for America’s Future (Friday) and MAGA Mamas (Saturday).

The events stream at 8 p.m. ET each night on Mr. Trump’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, at the “Team Trump” Instagram account, and at www.donaldjtrump.com/online.

POLL DU JOUR

• 86% of U.S. adults say their state has issued orders to “stay at home”; 86% of Republicans, 82% of independents and 92% of Democrats agree.

• 65% overall say the order is not a violation of constitutional rights; 50% of Republicans, 60% of independents and 84% of Democrats agree.

• 21% overall say the order is a violation of constitutional rights; 36% of Republicans, 24% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.

• 13% overall say they are not sure; 14% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted April 26-28.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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