Inside the Beltway: Donald Trump, the ‘shadow president’

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About four months ago — Dec. 6 to be exact — Sen. Lindsey Graham made a noteworthy comment about then-President Donald Trump.

“He has a lot of sway over the Republican Party. If he objects to anything Joe Biden does, it would be hard to get Republicans on board. If he blessed some kind of deal, it would be easier to get something done. In many ways, he’ll be a shadow president,” the South Carolina Republicans told New York Magazine at the time.

Some say that moment has arrived.

“The 45th President and his supporters are building out a constellation of groups (political, legal and policy) that parallel the structure of the national Republican Party. And yet more evidence that not only does Donald Trump have no plans to step away from politics, but that he is also constructing what amounts to a shadow version of the GOP,” wrote CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza in a new op-ed for the cable network.

He cited Mr. Trump’s Save America Super-PAC, the America First Policy Institute and the America First Legal Foundation — all newly organized by Mr. Trump and his close confidantes and all up and running, right under the nose of the GOP establishment.

The former president and the new groups are “in it for the long haul,” Mr. Cillizza said, noting the GOP base still sees Mr. Trump as its “unquestioned leader” and that the Republican establishment could be marginalized both in influence and in fundraising.

There is some irony afoot here as well.

When Mr. Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017, Republican voters worried that the “Deep State” and a shadow government made up of entrenched Democrats was working against the incoming president. An Economist/YouGov poll that week revealed that 65% of all voters — and 76% of Trump voters — had heard of the Deep State and its influence. Veteran political commentator Bill Moyers advised Democrats to “prepare by joining together as a movement and creating the constituency of what will be, in effect, a shadow government.”

On Inauguration Day 2017 itself, GQ magazine noted that: “Barack Obama is preparing for his third term.”

Could Mr. Trump be preparing for his “second term?”

EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Republicans and Democrats have different ideas about what constitutes the best and worst states in the United States of America. And like everything else, there is a stark partisan difference between the opinions of Republicans and Democrats in the matter. Yes, there’s a poll.

“Americans have strong opinions on the best and worst states in the country, but a YouGov analysis finds that (like many parts of the country’s discourse) many of the stances are driven by partisanship,” reports YouGov — the pollster in the matter.

Here’s what the survey found.

Among Republicans, the top-10 states are Florida, Arizona, Alaska, Kentucky, Texas, Montana, Georgia, South Carolina, Nebraska and North Carolina. Among Democrats, the top-10 were Hawaii, California, Oregon, Virginia, Colorado, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Among Republicans, the bottom 10 states are New York, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Illinois, Delaware, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey and California. Among Democrats, the bottom states are Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Iowa, North Dakota, Mississippi and Alabama.

And of course, we have to include what all Americans think about the issue. They felt that the best states in the land are Hawaii, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, New York, Georgia and Texas. The worst states are Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, South Dakota, Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas, New Jersey, Mississippi and Alabama.

The survey determining all this was conducted among 1,211 U.S. adults March 12-15. Respondents were asked to choose the better of two states from a list of U.S. states in a series of head-to-head match-ups.

NOW THERE’S A THOUGHT

“The United States is on track to have 2 million migrants cross our border by the end of September — about twice the population of Delaware, President Biden‘s home state,” observed House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in a press conference on Thursday.

AN INFRASTRUCTURE REMINDER

Yes, the White House proposes to spend $2.3 trillion to refurbish U.S. “infrastructure.” But analysts at Politico and other news organizations already have determined that little of this huge fund will go to roads, bridges and the rest of what most think of as “infrastructure.”

“With only some $220 billion going directly toward infrastructure repairs out to the $2 trillion being spent, it is an outright lie to label this an infrastructure program. It should be noted that according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, it will take $4.59 trillion to improve the nation’s infrastructure. The organization gave the U.S.’s infrastructure an overall grade of D+. Thus, the so-called infrastructure program will do next to nothing to improve the U.S. infrastructure,” advises the Trends Journal, a New York-based news organization.

“And, as we have noted, compared to the U.S.’s third-world rail system and its rotting roads, China has greatly improved and modernized its infrastructure. And rather than pumping money into equity markets and big business during the COVID War, Beijing put its money into infrastructure improvements,” the journal said.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

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POLL DU JOUR

• 61% of U.S. adults who received the most recent $1,400 COVID-19 stimulus check say it will contribute to their financial well-being for less than three months.

• 45% will use the funds to pay off monthly bills. 36% will buy daily essentials, 32% will pay down debt.

• 28% will add it to their savings, 13% will spend it on discretionary actives or nonessential items.

• 11% will invest the money, 7% will donate to a charity, 6% “don’t know” what they will spend it on.

Source: A BankRate survey of 2,626 U.S. adults conducted March 24-26 and released Wednesday. Respondents could select multiple answers.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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