The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

President Trump is on a 12-day tour of Asia, and he leaves be­hind a na­tion un­der the im­pres­sion that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has lit­tle to show af­ter 10 months on the job. That im­pres­sion, of course comes from a hos­tile me­dia which rou­tinely omits news cover­age of a record-break­ing stock mar­ket ac­tiv­ity or a grow­ing econ­omy — con­cen­trat­ing in­stead on politi­cal spec­ta­cle, out­rage and other dis­tract­ing de­vices. Mr. Trump will be out of the coun­try on Novem­ber 8, the one-year an­niver­sary of his vic­tory at the polls. Democrats and pro­gres­sives who are still dis­traught over the elec­tion plan to holler and scream in the streets to mark the mo­ment — and you can be sure the me­dia will be there to chronicle it all.

But in the big pic­ture, amid the din of con­tro­versy and angst, how is Mr. Trump ac­tu­ally do­ing?

“There is never a bor­ing mo­ment with President Trump – he is the main at­trac­tion and rarely dis­ap­points. From early-morn­ing tweets to provoca­tive state­ments on the cam­paign stump to off-the-cuff riffs at press con­fer­ences, Trump knows how to keep his crit­ics and his sup­port­ers on their toes. Trump’s unique com­mu­ni­ca­tion style is con­stantly de­rided by a press corps that pre­dom­i­nately de­spises him, but his abil­ity to ig­nore his big­gest crit­ics and con­tin­u­ally strike the re­spon­sive chord of his core sup­port­ers on top­ics rang­ing from the na­tional an­them to mon­u­ments to the es­tab­lish­ment swamp crea­tures of both par­ties has al­lowed him to per­se­vere,” Ford O’Con­nell tells In­side the Belt­way.

He is an ad­junct pro­fes­sor at The Ge­orge Washington Univer­sity Grad­u­ate School of Politi­cal Man­age­ment, a politi­cal an­a­lyst, and au­thor of the book “Hail Mary: The 10-Step Play­book for Repub­li­can Re­cov­ery.” He has seen much.

“If Trump has fallen short in one area, it is find­ing a per­sua­sive mes­sage to light a fire un­der the back­side of the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress to move on his leg­isla­tive agenda, par­tic­u­larly tax re­form. If Trump can do that in this highly po­lar­ized politi­cal en­vi­ron­ment, his poll num­bers will rise much to the dis­may of his politi­cal foes. Un­til then, the President earns a B-plus and has some work to do,” Mr. O’Con­nell ob­serves. con­trol of the Se­nate. They lost con­trol of the White House,” writes McClatchy columnist An­drew Mal­colm, who points out that many fa­mil­iar veteran Demo­cratic stan­dard bear­ers are in their late 70s.

“Fifty-three weeks from now, in the 2018 midterms, his­tory and pre­ma­ture polls in­di­cate Democrats may well win back ma­jori­ties in Congress. But that won’t be be­cause of any­thing Democrats did. It will be be­cause of who they aren’t. They aren’t Repub­li­cans, who blew their shot at rul­ing the en­tire swamp, let alone drain­ing it,” Mr. Mal­colm says.

And a word to the GOP. The Democrats could be ahead of the game when it comes to self-di­ag­no­sis. Just ar­rived, it’s “Au­topsy: The Demo­cratic Party in Cri­sis,” a 33-page re­port on, well, the Demo­cratic party in cri­sis. Pro­gres­sive Fu­ture, a Cal­i­for­nia-based non­profit be­hind the sur­gi­cal anal­y­sis, de­clares it to be “un­flinch­ing” re­search. Repub­li­cans cu­ri­ous about a po­ten­tial foe in the 2018 and 2020 elec­tions should heed it.

“We can and must learn from elec­toral tragedy by eval­u­at­ing the poli­cies, ac­tions and pri­or­i­ties of the Demo­cratic Party. In the wake of the Novem­ber 2016 elec­tion, the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee chose not to do a pub­lic “au­topsy.” Over­all, the party’s na­tional lead­er­ship has shown scant in­ter­est in ad­dress­ing many of the key fac­tors that led to elec­toral dis­as­ter. In­stead, the main em­pha­sis has been on mat­ters that the Demo­cratic Party and its pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee had lit­tle or no con­trol over — an ap­proach that largely ob­scures the party’s role in its own de­feat,” the re­port ad­vises,

“Oper­at­ing from a place of de­fen­sive­ness and de­nial will not turn the party around,” the re­search noted, ul­ti­mately ad­vis­ing Democrats to em­brace “re­vi­tal­ized pro­gres­sive pop­ulism.” This may be a rein­ven­tion of the same old wheel, but it is out there, and spin­ning to the press. Find the re­port at Demo­crat­i­cau­ taxes may keep con­sumers away from le­gal mar­i­juana stores once the recre­ational re­tail mar­ket goes live on Jan­uary 1,” writes CNN Money columnist Aaron Smith, who cites a Fitch Rat­ings re­port that is suc­cinct in­deed.

Cannabis con­sumers will pay a sales tax rang­ing from 22.25 per­cent to 24.25 per­cent, made up of a com­bi­na­tion of state ex­cise tax plus some ad­di­tional state and lo­cal sales taxes. Lo­cal busi­nesses will have to pay a tax rang­ing from 1 per­cent to 20 per­cent of gross re­ceipts — or $1 to $50 per square foot of mar­i­juana plants that they grow. In ad­di­tion, farm­ers will be taxed $9.25 per ounce for flower, and $2.75 per ounce for leaves.

“The Fitch re­port says this com­bi­na­tion of state and lo­cal taxes for con­sumers, re­tail­ers and grow­ers could keep por­tions of Cal­i­for­nia’s cannabis in­dus­try off the grid, where it has flour­ished for some time,” Mr. Smith ob­serves.


He’s done pretty well, no mat­ter what the press says. One politi­cal an­a­lyst gives President Trump a B+ grade af­ter 10 months in of­fice.

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