- The Washington Times
Monday, April 10, 2017

The Democratic Party is still trying to maneuver heartland values into their corner as the 2018 midterm elections loom. There’s some fancy footwork going on. Democrats appear to be claiming ownership of those very values, which were articulated with great authenticity and genuine verve by President Trump during his successful White House campaign.

“As Democrats, we believe that every hardworking American should have an opportunity to get ahead. We believe in standing up for working people, that you should get a fair wage for a hard day’s work and that access to health care is a right, not a privilege. Those are our party’s values, and they’re America’s values — they’re what most people voted for last November,” says Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez in a new public outreach.


“We need to turn our party around and get back on track to take on Donald Trump and win elections. But that doesn’t mean changing what it means to be a Democrat,” he adds. “We have to rebuild the Democratic Party from the grass roots up.”

Mr. Perez has drafted the help of Sen. Bernard Sanders — the beloved “Bernie” of progressives eager to “feel the Bern” during his presidential campaign, which netted the candidate 13 million popular votes and 1,865 delegates.

The Vermont independent is very fond of a big feisty rally, and has already made a few appearances of his own this year to protest the Republican agenda. The Perez/Sanders double bill is now ready.

The pair will hit the road next week in a much-ballyhooed “Come Together and Fight Back Tour,” staging vigorous rallies, they say, from Maine to Arizona. It all sounds Trumpian, but no matter. The road trip gets underway Monday; the itinerary is unknown.

“We can make the Democratic Party stronger, faster, leaner and feistier so we can fight for the values we all share — and win,” vows Mr. Perez.

HARVARD’S EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Change is descending on the ivy-covered halls. Harvard University has a new contest open to its students, staff and faculty: the “Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging: Revise the Alma Mater.”

The organizers are asking the Harvard “community” to rewrite “Fair Harvard,” the school’s anthem, in use since 1836. The short take: University officials no longer want the word “Puritans” to appear in the lyrics, which include the lines “Be the herald of light an the bearer of love, till the stock of the Puritans die.”

The song was revised in 1998 to make the lyrics more gender-inclusive, but they left the final line as it was. “We think it’s time for a change,” the campus officials advise.

They are also seeking a “new musical variant,” noting that the alma mater tune itself is based on an Irish folk song. Hip-hop, spoken word and electronic versions are welcome; the authorities say they were inspired to tweak the beat and delivery by “Hamilton,” the Broadway musical based on the life and times of Alexander Hamilton.

One traditional part of campus culture is safe, however. For now, Harvard’s motto — “Veritas” — can stay. The Latin word for truth “speaks to and on behalf of all members of our community, regardless of background, identity, religious affiliation or viewpoint,” the taskforce notes.

DID THEY OR DIDN’T THEY?

Americans remain split on whether former President Barack Obama or his inner circle knew that U.S. intelligence agencies were peeking in on President Trump’s campaign last year.

A new Rasmussen Report survey finds that 47 percent of likely U.S. voters say it’s likely Mr. Obama or his top aides were aware that the nation’s intelligence agencies were spying on the Trump campaign and transition team. A third say senior members of the Obama administration shared “secretly obtained information about the incoming president and his team” with the media.

Among Republican voters, 73 percent say the Obama team knew of the surveillance, and 59 percent of those voters believe secretly obtained information was leaked to the press.

“Most Democrats disagree with both of those statements. Voters not affiliated with either political party are more evenly divided on both questions,” the poll analysis noted.

THE DHS BURDEN

Half of all federal arrests made in 2014 were related to immigration, says a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Six out of 10 of those arrests were made by the Department of Homeland Security, with Department of Justice essentially picking up the rest.

“Just one agency within DHS — Customs and Border Protection — made more arrests in 2014 (64,954) than all of the agencies within DOJ combined (58,265),” the analysis noted. Other federal agencies, such as Treasury Department and the U.S. Postal Service, accounted for 1 percent of the arrests.

In addition, 61 percent of all federal arrests occurred in just five federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border, the analysis noted. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

“When the enlightened members of the Malibu City Council approved the recent request from actor Martin Sheen to officially make the tony seaside hub an official sanctuary city, they never thought they’d become the butt of a prank joke,” notes the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which monitors immigration policy.

Indeed. Just a few days after Mr. Sheen’s request, the official Malibu city limits sign on Pacific Coast Highway sported a new bolted-on addendum that read: “Official Sanctuary City: Cheap Nannies and Gardeners Make Malibu Great!”

A consternation and press coverage ensued; local insiders weighed in on the sign phenomenon.

“It’s more a jab at all those lazy [expletive] Malibu kids who won’t mow their own grass, mothers that won’t clean their own homes and basically importing all these illegal aliens who are taking unskilled work,” a local political artist named “Sabo” told KABC, an ABC affiliate.

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of all federal criminal arrests in 2014 involved non-U.S. citizens; 39 percent were U.S. citizens.

59 percent of these arrests were made by the Department of Homeland Security; 35 percent were made by the Justice Department.

50 percent of these arrests were immigration-related.

14 percent were related to drugs, 14 percent to supervision violations.

8 percent of the arrests were for property crimes such as fraud and embezzlement; 4 percent for weapons offenses.

Source: A Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Justice Statistics for 165,265 federal arrests during 2014; the data were released in mid-March.

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