Thursday, February 28, 2019

Democrats getting out on dangerously left-wing limb

By Michael Barone | Washington Examiner

There’s an old political saying that presidential candidates appeal to their parties’ wings — left for Democrats, right for Republicans — in the race for the nomination and then appeal to the center in the general election campaign. It was put in canonical form by Richard Nixon, one of only two Americans that our major parties nominated for national office five times (the other was Franklin Roosevelt).

The dozen or so already-announced Democratic candidates seem to be following Nixon’s rule but with more reckless abandon than Nixon ever did. Maybe they figure that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will inevitably beat President Trump. After all, no one they ever talk to would vote for him.

But a skewed sample can produce misleading results. If Trump’s job approval hasn’t risen above 44 percent level since March 2017, it has not fallen below 40 percent either this year or last. That’s about where opinion was when he got elected. And remember that his national rating is depressed by 2-to-1 disapproval in California, which casts 10 percent of the nation’s votes. He’ll never win its 55 electoral votes, but in 2016, he carried the other 49 states and D.C. by 1.4 million votes.

[Editor’s Note: See the below February 11, 2019 article “Trump’s approval rating rises to 52 percent, highest since 2017.]

Like his three predecessors at this point in their first terms, he seems vulnerable. But each of them was reelected.

Despite this, Democratic presidential candidates have been going out on potentially shaky left-wing limbs, including the Green New Deal sketched out by the exuberant freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Endorsers include putatively serious candidates such as Sens. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.

The idea is to ban net carbon emissions in just 10 years. This evidently means no gasoline-powered cars, no beef from methane-producing cattle, and no passenger airplanes. AOC wants a national passenger rail network “so that air travel becomes unnecessary.” Also, guaranteed jobs, free college, and government-provided healthcare — a solution to all problems, it seems, to be financed by printing money.

Obamacare, which passed nearly 10 years ago, is no longer enough for Democrats. In his 2016 campaign, Bernie Sanders called for “Medicare for all,” and he and other declared candidates are echoing that this cycle. When asked about the large majority who are satisfied with their current health insurance, Kamala Harris said they wouldn’t have to fill out forms any more to get treatments approved. “Let’s eliminate all that,” she said, without getting into details. “Let’s move on.” More than 100 House Democrats are sponsoring a bill to do just that.

Then, there is the issue of reparations for descendants of slaves, urged without much visible effect by longtime Rep. John Conyers and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose widely praised bestseller argued that America today is just as racist as ever and always will be. Polls show this position to be unsurprisingly unpopular. But Harris, Warren, and fellow candidate Rep. Julian Castro have now all signed on for “some form” of reparations.

Support for legal abortion has been a Democratic staple for years, but Democrats have recently moved left to pass laws allowing it up to nine months. They did so successfully in New York and unsuccessfully in Virginia, after Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam suggested it would apply even after birth.

That’s an unpopular position, to say the least. Polls for years have shown majority support for legalizing abortion in the first trimester and prohibiting it in the third. But all six Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate voted against the bill introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., requiring medical care for babies actually born alive after failed abortions.

Did this extreme position affect public opinion? A February Marist poll showed equal numbers, 47 percent, calling themselves pro-life and pro-choice, a sharp change from January’s 55 to 38 percent pro-choice advantage. Maybe this poll is an outlier, but maybe the sudden placement of the spotlight on ninth-month abortions has actually changed opinion.

An overwhelmingly pro-choice press has long covered for Democrats, refusing to explain that the “health of the mother” exception to abortion bans means (because “health” includes mental health) abortion on demand. Predictably, CNN and MSNBC ignored the Sasse bill vote and media like Politico provided spectacularly biased accounts.

But liberal media doesn’t have a monopoly on megaphones any more, and Trump has shown himself capable of using invective, ridicule, and also serious argument to attack extreme positions, as he did Hillary Clinton’s on abortion. He has no compunction about raging impolitely against what liberals insist is politically correct.

Democratic presidential candidates, perhaps isolated in liberal cocoons, don’t seem to understand their vulnerability on issues like reparations, ninth-month abortions, and the Green New Deal. They assume their media friends can rescue them. But what if they can't?



Trump’s approval rating rises to 52 percent, highest since 2017

By Mark Moore | New York Post | February 11, 2019

President Trump’s approval rating has reached 52 percent, according to a new poll released Monday, his highest level since shortly after his inauguration in 2017.

The Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll shows 47 percent of likely US voters disapprove of his job performance.

Trump’s approval rating was at 55 percent just days after he was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017.

The president touted the results in a tweet that included an image of the Drudge Report’s web page headline: “Trump 52% approval jolts Washington. Best in years.”

His marks have been on the rise since his State of the Union address last Tuesday and in the wake of the 35-day partial government shutdown over border security and his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall.

The Rasmussen poll shows Trump’s approval rating was at 46 percent the day the government shut down on Dec. 22 and fell to 43 percent on Jan. 14.

The daily tracking results come from surveys involving 500 likely voters each day and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. It has a plus/minus 2.5 percentage-point margin of error in the 1,500 sample.