- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2018

He is the consummate political outsider. Nevertheless, President Trump continues to take care of business as hostile media coverage and controversy spins around the nation. Another force is at work as the president marks his 19th month in office, however. The role of the political outsider has become a factor in the midterm election, now just 75 days off.

There’s a lot at stake. Multiple polls find that up to 80 percent of voters definitely plan to cast a ballot on Nov. 6. Majorities say this election is as important as a presidential bout — and there will be talk of “impeachment” no matter who wins the House. Meanwhile, a startling new poll now reveals that the majority of Americans would prefer to vote for a political outsider — likely prompted by the persistent belief that we have a “do nothing” Congress.

A new Monmouth University survey finds that 61 percent of Americans say political experience is a positive quality in a candidate for Congress. But wait. The poll also found that the majority — 51 percent — would prefer to vote for a “political” outsider; just a quarter prefer a political insider. Republicans favor an outsider twice as much as Democrats.

This interesting finding suggests Mr. Trump’s bearing, philosophy and style have had some influence. It could have implications for independent candidates. Poll director Patrick Murray, however, has simple advice for hopefuls on both sides of the aisle in November.

“The Trump phenomenon could come back to bite the GOP establishment. The key for Republican officeholders is to somehow position themselves as outsiders while Democrats need to hit upon a key issue that grabs voters’ attention,” Mr. Murray says.

See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

A NOTEWORTHY NAME CHANGE

The Broadcasting Board of Governors — a low-key federal agency that oversees such remarkable media entities as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe — has quietly changed its name. The “BBG” is now U.S. Agency for Global Media.

The name is accurate. The agency maintains five major networks and 50 news bureaus around the world which “support of freedom and democracy,” and in regions with no access to Western media. Some of this outreach is via shortwave radio.

The scope is often staggering. The agency provides content in 61 languages to 278 million people in over 100 nations. Considering that most U.S. networks get excited when the viewing audience is 30 million, that indeed is “global media.”

A BODACIOUS STOCK MARKET

Another Trump bump?

Wednesday was a bell-ringer for the U.S. stock market, marking 3,453 days in a bull market rally — the longest on record.

“The current bull market rally, which started March 9, 2009, became the longest one on record since World War II on Wednesday by avoiding a 20 percent or more decline, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. The market has risen more than 300 percent since its low nine years ago. It surpassed the rally from 1990 to early 2000, which totaled 3,452 days,” notes a CNBC analysis.

“The bull market narrowly survived countless panic attacks from crisis-scarred investors along the way,” wrote CNN markets reporter Matt Egan.

“There was the downgrade of America’s credit rating in 2011, the feared collapse of the euro, China’s alarming economic slowdown and the dramatic crash in oil prices. Yet each scare failed to derail the steady rise of the economy and corporate profits that has underpinned Wall Street’s record-breaking run. There were close calls, but the S&P 500 never dropped 20 percent, the trigger for a new bear market.

“The remarkable run began in the ashes of the Great Recession and the scariest financial crisis since the 1930s,” Mr. Egan said. “The slow-but-steady economic recovery, coupled with unprecedented aid from the Federal Reserve, catapulted the Dow from around 6,500 to nearly 26,000 today. The S&P 500 has quadrupled from its 2009 low of 666.”

“Stock-market dividend payouts are hitting records all over the world. Global dividends could total $1.36 trillion in 2018,” predicted MarketWatch.

BERNIE AGAINST BEZOS

One salary rumor has long irked Sen. Bernard Sanders: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos makes $275 million a day, this according to Time magazine.

“Jeff Bezos has so much money that he says the only way he could possibly spend it all is on space travel. Space travel. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It is absolutely absurd,” the Vermont independent and self-described socialist says in a new campaign email, which also launches a dramatic public petition against the online tycoon.

“Mr. Bezos: It is long past time you start to pay your workers a living wage and improve working conditions at Amazon warehouses all across the country. It is beyond absurd that you would make more money in ten seconds than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year,” the petition states. “Meanwhile, thousands of Amazon employees are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing because their wages are too low. I don’t believe that ordinary Americans should be subsidizing the wealthiest person in the world because you pay your employees inadequate wages.”

Mr. Sanders likes petitions, meanwhile. In July, he also organized a public petition again Disney CEO Bob Iger, noting that the parent company is worth $150 billion and that Mr. Iger has a $423 million compensation package.

“This is not what Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are supposed to be about. This does not sound like the happiest place on Earth to me,” Mr. Sanders advised at the time.

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of Americans say “experience in government and politics” is a positive quality in a candidate for Congress; 58 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 75 percent of Democrats agree; 47 percent of conservatives, 65 percent of moderates and 76 percent of liberals also agree.

• 52 percent overall are more likely to support a “political outsider” for Congress; 62 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats agree; 64 percent of conservatives, 52 percent of moderates and 40 percent of liberals also agree.

• 25 percent overall are more likely to support a “political insider” for Congress; 16 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats agree; 19 percent of conservatives, 27 percent of moderates and 31 percent of liberals also agree.

• 22 percent say political experience is a negative candidate quality; 25 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree; 34 percent of conservatives, 16 percent of moderates and 15 percent of liberals also agree.

Source: A Monmouth University poll of 805 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 15-19.

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