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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Inside the Beltway: Trump still the ‘kingmaker’

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The press continues to suggest that former President Donald Trump is a Republican “kingmaker’ — able to up the power and appeal of a political candidate with a nod and a recommendation.

Donald Trump is now the Republican Party’s kingmaker,” proclaimed the Spectator, way back on Nov. 23, just weeks after Mr. Trump lost the presidential election.

“Trump the kingmaker — but at what cost to the GOP?” asked the Chicago Tribune on Jan. 26. “Trump is mapping out his role as Republican kingmaker,” wrote Vanity Fair on Feb. 21. “Trump’s kingmaker status faces test in Ohio,” said the Associated Press on Aug. 2. “Donald Trump, the kingmaker,” proclaimed the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 12.

At this point, Mr. Trump may have broken the record in terms of influence.

“Trump’s endorsement is hands down the most sought after in the Republican Party, and Trump isn’t disappointing. The former president – eight months removed from the White House – remains extremely popular and influential with Republican voters and politicians as he aims to continue playing a kingmaker’s role in the GOP,” wrote Fox News political analyst Paul Steinhauser.

“As Trump repeatedly flirts with another White House run in 2024, thanks to a spate of recent endorsements, he’s now backed nearly 40 Republicans running in elections this year and next year, from statewide races such as senator and governor to down-ballot contests. It’s uncharted waters for a former president to remain so immensely involved in party politics. But Trump’s no normal former president,” Mr. Steinhauser said.

Veteran political scientist Wayne Lesperance also told the Fox News analyst that the vast number of Trump endorsements so far this year are “unheard of in recent political memory.”

The Trump nod “is the most powerful and sought after endorsement in the history of American politics,” Taylor Budowich — communications director for Save America, the former president’s political action committee — told Mr. Steinhauser.

STILL STANDING BY 45

Evangelist Franklin Graham had a straightforward post on Facebook this week for his 9.7 million followers, accompanied by an upbeat photo of himself and former President Donald Trump.

“With the chaos in our world today and the lack of leadership we see, I miss this guy. Pray for him — and let him know you’re praying in the comments below. Also continue to pray every day for all of our leaders in Washington,” Mr. Graham said in his post.

It drew 53,000 comments in the first 24 hours; a preliminary review of those comments reveals the comments to be prayerful — and cheerful.

JOE GOES LOW

A new Gallup poll currently finds President Biden with a 43% overall approval rating; the lowest of his presidency, and lower than approval of Vice President Kamala D. Harris — who has a 49% approval rating.

Currently, Mr. Biden enjoys a 90% approval among Democrats but a meager 6% among Republicans. He is also losing support among a crucial voting bloc.

“Independents have shown the greatest variation in their opinions of how Biden is doing. Biden’s current 37% approval rating among independents is his lowest to date and 24 percentage points below his personal high of 61%. Two-thirds of Biden’s slide among independents since he took office has occurred in the past three months,” Gallup reported.

The poll of 1,005 U.S. adults was conducted Sept. 11-17.

THE POLITICS OF SHOPPING

Politics has become a factor in the shopping experience.

“Half of Americans are ‘unlikely’ to buy from companies whose political views differ from their own,” reports Digital.com, which polled the public on this sentiment.

It found that 47% of U.S. adults are reticent to patronize a business with political opinions that do not align with their own.

“In our highly polarized climate, nearly every aspect of daily life can be considered an opportunity to make a statement about one’s views on political and social issues — including where we spend our money,” the poll analysis said.

The poll found that 49% of independent voters are unlikely to patronize businesses with opposing political leanings.

Sentiments among Democrats and Republicans are not far behind: 46% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans also say they would spurn a retailer with opposing views.

“When asked why they pay attention to a company’s political and social views, the plurality of Democrats (34%) and independent voters (28%) say it’s because they want their money to have an impact beyond their purchase. Meanwhile, 26% of Republicans say it’s because they don’t want their money supporting candidates or causes with whom they disagree,” the analysis said.

“Companies need to consider if their core values and brand strategy match what they wish to communicate on political or social issues. Consumers value authenticity and are quick to call out companies that may take a stand to appropriate a cause without having existing practices to support it,” advises Huy Nguyen, a digital marketing executive who reviewed the findings.

The survey of 1,250 U.S. adults was conducted July 21 and released Thursday.

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POLL DU JOUR

• 29% of U.S. adults say President Biden is “very liberal”; 57% of Republicans, 33% of independents and 6% of Democrats agree.

• 23% overall say Mr. Biden is “liberal”; 21% of Republicans, 19% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.

• 24% overall say he is “moderate”; 8% of Republicans, 26% of independents and 40% of Democrats agree.

• 5% overall say he is “conservative”; 3% of Republicans, 4% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.

• 2% overall say he is “very conservative”; 2% of Republicans, 2% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.

• 17% are not sure of Mr. Biden’s ideology; 9% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 12% of Democrats agree.

SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 12-14.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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