- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2020

In years past, independent presidential hopefuls had a say in a their own debate settings.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson was featured in alternative debates when he ran for office in 2012 and 2016, and also got substantial airtime on C-SPAN, as did Green Party hopeful Jill Stein. In 2016, a “People’s Presidential Debate” featured Constitution Party nominee Darrell Castle, the Reform Party’s Rocky de la Fuente, and Gloria La Riva, representing the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The event was hosted by the late actor Ed Asner.

The independents again have an exclusive forum this year. The nonprofit Free & Equal Elections Foundation and the newly formed Independent National Union have organized the Independent National Convention — staged this weekend at a resort in Cheyenne, Wyoming — complete with formal dinners, 16 speakers, six entertainers, multiple forums and an independent presidential debate Saturday evening, That will be followed by a “Mayan Warrior After Party.”

Organizers stress that no one will be nominated at the event, and advise it will be livestreamed from their website www.INC2020.us.

“As we legitimize and normalize Independent politics, we prepare ourselves to rise as the two-party system crumbles,” the group noted in a statement.



Among the attendees is Brock Pierce, a former childhood actor and a cryptocurrency entrepreneur running for the White House. He has extended an invitation to Kanye West — a fellow performer and entrepreneur also in the running — a move not ignored by the rappers many, many fans.

“America deserves more choice for president of the United States. The last third-party candidate to be elected president was Abraham Lincoln. It feels to me that this country needs another Abraham Lincoln — and this can only be found by listening to the ideas of those outside of the Democratic and Republican parties,” Mr. Pierce tells Inside the Beltway.

Meanwhile, other independents are ready to roll. The event also features Green Party hopeful Howie Hawkins, the Constitution Party’s Don Blankenship, Pastor Audrey Addison Williams, the American Solidarity Party’s Brian Carroll and Ms. La Riva, the aforementioned socialist.

WHAT? NEVER LIVED UP TO IT?

A new outreach from Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden appears to tug at the very heart of the nation’s values, even though Mr. Biden’s calls his campaign “a battle for the soul of the nation.”

The nominee has revealed another side of his thinking in a new 30-second campaign spot which racked up 2 million views on Twitter alone within hours of its big reveal Thursday.

“America was an idea. An idea. We hold these truths to be self-evident. We’ve never lived up to it,” Mr. Biden advises in the message. “But we’ve never walked away from it before. And I think we just have to be more honest with our kids know as we raise them, what actually did happen. Acknowledge our mistakes so we don’t repeat them.”

The spot drew a multitude of terse replies. Among them:

“47 years, 0 accomplishments. Americans deserve better than your apology tour,” tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in reply.

“Saying that America has never lived up to its ideals is insulting to millions, from the soldiers who won the Civil War, to the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy and defeated the Nazis, to the black Americans who fought for and won their civil rights. It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding and misreading of the American story and the context in which this country was founded,” wrote Bryan Preston, a contributor to PJ Media, in response.

THE HORSE RACE

Victory in increments? President Trump’s job approval rating has risen to 52% according to a Rasmussen Reports daily survey of 1,500 likely U.S. voters reports released Thursday — a 5 percentage point rise compared to an identical poll conducted Oct. 14.

In comparison, then-President Obama enjoyed a 50% approval rating according to the pollster’s records on Oct. 22, 2012. A separate Rasmussen Reports survey also suggests Mr. Trump is gaining traction as the clock ticks down.

“With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, it’s a three-point race. Democrat Joe Biden now leads President Trump 49% to 46% among likely U.S. voters,” Rasmussen reported in a weekly survey of 2,500 likely voters conducted Oct. 14-15 and 18-20.

“Two weeks ago, Biden had a 12-point lead. A week ago, he was ahead by eight. This is the first time in a month that Biden’s support has fallen below 50%,” the pollster said.

THE HOLIDAY ECONOMY

The pandemic and elections have not put a dent in America’s holiday spending. U.S. consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, decorations, food, and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families, according to a new survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

That’s down by a mere $8 from a similar poll conducted last year and deemed “significantly higher” than the previous 5-year average. Things will get rolling shortly: 42% of consumer say they plan to start their holiday shopping by the end of October, another 41% in November. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Linden Hill, a Federal style home built in 1750 on two acres in Princess Anne, Maryland. Five bedrooms, three baths, original plank flooring, large foyer, formal living, dining and sitting rooms; nine-foot ceilings, multiple fireplaces; 4,743 square feet. Wood-paneled pub, extensive gardens and landscaping. “Many furnishings convey with the sale. Home is being sold as is.” Priced at $285,000 through Weichert.com.

POLL DU JOUR

53% of U.S. adults would be prompted to start holiday shopping earlier than usual by a sale or promotion.

37% would go early to avoid crowds, 31% to avoid stress of last-minute shopping.

26% would if their preferred items likely sell out, 20% would to get holiday items early.

19% would shop early if they had extra money from a government stimulus.

13% say “nothing” would prompt them to shop early.

Source: A National Retail Federation/Prosper Insights survey of 7,660 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 1-9 and released Wednesday.

Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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