Inside the Beltway: Donald Trump quietly 'getting stronger'

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The countdown is on for the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, set to make its debut — media ready — in one week. Opening arguments are expected to start on Feb. 8. News organizations, however, are already previewing the event with gusto. When the big day dawns, the trial likely will generate much special coverage, a multitude of analysts and experts, fancy graphics, historical references, timelines, editorials and endless speculation — the usual treatment, in other words.

Mr. Trump, in the meantime, is staying out of the limelight at the moment — which could be a very beneficial thing indeed as the press whips itself up into a standard media frenzy.

This is a case of less is more, some say.

An emerging dynamic is at work far from the nation’s capital according to Tara Palmeri — who covers politics for Politico. She has just returned from a visit to Wyoming  — specifically to peek in on a rally that took place on Thursday in Cheyenne and was organized by Rep. Matt Gaetz. The Florida Republican was intent on drawing local attention to Rep. Liz Cheney — a fellow Republican who represents the Cowboy State but voted for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.

Ms. Palmeri had a few thoughts about the local population’s sentiment toward Mr. Trump.

“I’m really happy I went out there and saw it. I think there’s a huge disconnect right now between Washington and the rest of the country. And you know, Trump people don’t want to hear anything against Trump. Actually, the more he stays out of the media, the more he becomes this martyr, this looming figure over the GOP,” she told MSNBC in the aftermath of her visit.

“A lot of people said they aren’t really Republicans, that they’re for Trump. That’s it. And it’s just — I think he’s actually getting — I think the base is getting — stronger. Truly,” Ms. Palmeri advised.

‘A SYMBOL OF THE PAST’

Tristan Justice, a correspondent for The Federalist, also went to Wyoming to witness Mr. Gaetz’s public event and to gauge how the residents of Cheyenne felt about the aforementioned Rep. Liz Cheney. Mr. Gaetz apparently did not mince words.

“He really branded Liz Cheney as emblematic of the old way of doing things,” Mr. Justice told “The Federalist Radio,” a podcast.

Mr. Gaetz also identified what the Republican Party needs to avoid if it’s going to be “successful in the future.” 

And the people’s reaction?

“The crowd loved it. Every single person I spoke to, they complained about Liz Cheney, not necessarily because of her impeachment vote. A lot of them said that impeachment was just the last straw, that they were already upset with Cheney. They really just attacked her for being a symbol of the past,” Mr. Justice said.

“Liz Cheney is in trouble in her own state. Trumpism has gripped the party, and I don’t think there’s a lot of space for the Republican Party to go back to the old way of doing things,” he concluded.

THE DIVIDE GROWS

Political divides in families are becoming so frequent that one psychiatrist is now offering guidelines for parents who fear their children have been led astray by outsiders with an agenda.

“Parents are losing their teens these days — not only to drugs, violence and suicide ­— but to the influence of teachers, peers and social media pushing political agendas,” says Dr. Carole Lieberman, a board-certified  psychiatrist based in Beverly Hills, California.

“Adolescence is a time when kids normally rebel against their parents as part of their becoming independent adults. So, when teachers influence kids’ political beliefs and their classmates and social media urge them to be cool and shame their parents for their differing political beliefs, they say, ‘Hell, yeah. Where do I sign up?’” she said.

The trend appears to be intensifying according to polling data. In 2005, a Gallup poll offered insight.

“While a fifth of U.S. teens (21%) say they are ‘more liberal’ than their parents and 7% say ‘more conservative,’ 7 in 10 teens (71%) say their social and political ideology is about the same as mom and dad’s,” the pollster reported at the time.

By 2015, a comprehensive Stanford University study of the political leanings of parents and children revealed that 54% of U.S. children over the age of 16 either rejected their parents’ political beliefs or incorrectly identified them.

MEANWHILE IN MARYLAND

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will stage the state’s first “Primitive Deer Hunt” — a three-day event which opens statewide on Monday.

“Hunters with a valid hunting license, or those exempt from the hunting license requirement, may use primitive bows or muzzleloaders to hunt sika and white-tailed deer during these days,” the department said in an advisory.

“Primitive hunting devices are defined as long bows, recurve bows, flintlock, or sidelock percussion muzzleloaders. Hunters may not use compound bows, crossbows, drawlocks, and telescopic or other electronic aiming devices. However, fiber optic sights are permitted on otherwise legal primitive bows or muzzleloaders,” the advisory notes. 

“The newly created Primitive Deer Hunt will give deer hunters one last opportunity to enjoy their favorite pastime,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said in a statement.

“The purposeful timing of this season allows deer hunters to experience more challenging hunting conditions using low-tech hunting devices,” he noted.

POLL DU JOUR

• 83% of U.S. voters support sending a $1,400 one-time payment to most Americans as part of a coronavirus relief effort; 78% of Republicans, 81% of independents and 89% of Democrats agree.

• 15% of voters overall oppose the idea; 22% of Republicans, 16% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.

• 60% overall say the $1,400 checks should be “phased out” based on income to ensure funds go to people who need them most; 59% of Republicans, 63% of independents and 60% of Democrats agree.

• 36% overall say the $1,400 checks should go to all Americans regardless of income; 36% of Republicans, 35% of independents and 37% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Vox/Data for Progress poll of 1,164 likely U.S. voters conducted Jan. 15-19.

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