The worlds of politics, sports, celebrity, activism, Trump Derangement Syndrome and the ever-hungry news media collided this week. Fans of U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe want her to run for president, and the press has magnified her role as an outspoken activist for women’s rights and other issues, with the clear makings of an insurgent political candidate.
“Megan Rapinoe is filling the leadership void,” declared MSNBC.
That’s a deft case of instant branding, enhanced by a survey with all the trimmings.
A poll of 604 voters was conducted within 48 hours of the U.S. victory in the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, this courtesy of Public Policy Polling — PPP — which often gets billed in the press as a left-leaning pollster.
“By popular demand, PPP tested how a Megan Rapinoe v. Donald Trump 2020 match up would shake out, and we found that Rapinoe gets 42% to 41% for Trump,” the organization said.
And the deep numbers: 75% of Republicans back President Trump, 16% favor Ms. Rapinoe and 8% are undecided. Among independents, 40% back the president, 39% the soccer star and 21% are undecided. And among the Democrats: 12% are in Mr. Trump’s corner, 65% in Ms. Rapinoe’s and 22% are undecided.
The novelty poll drew plenty of serious coverage and some screaming headlines, aided by the pollster’s allegorical spin on the findings and the never-ending need for news in a fickle 24/7 marketplace.
“Rapinoe may be an unlikely presidential candidate but her numbers still speak to a broader truth about Trump’s standing,” the poll analysis said.
“Rapinoe’s popularity and notoriety are emblematic of our divided nation. Progressives love her candid — and profane — reaction to a potential visit to the White House, while conservatives have, not entirely unfairly, compared her National Anthem protest to another right-wing villain, Colin Kaepernick,” wrote Mediaite.com columnist Colby Hall.
CONSERVATIVES GO WEST
Friday marks the start of the two-day Western Conservative Summit, staged in Denver and organized by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. Considered the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C., the event both celebrates and advances faith, family and freedom, organizers say. The extensive speaker’s roster includes a noteworthy son.
“Donald Trump Jr. is one of the boldest conservative voices in the nation. He is a warrior for limited government, free markets, personal freedom, and the Constitution. We are elated he will be speaking at the Western Conservative Summit,” says Jeff Hunt, event chairman.
Also in attendance: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson; Republican Sen. Cory Gardner; Reps. Ken Buck, Dan Crenshaw, Doug Lamborn, Paul Gosar and Ralph Norman; former special counsel Ken Starr; Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton; Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell; pro-life activist AbbyJohnson; columnist Michelle Malkin; and veteran analysts Frank Gaffney and David Horowitz. Washington Times opinion editor and columnist Charles Hurt is also on the 50-person speaker’s program.
These folks mean business.
The event features a competition for speakers under age 30. An awards dinner features Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Workshops includes such topics as “Stop complaining, and take back your country by taking back your community,” “Three punches to knock down Democratic socialism,” “The culture of suppression: Can campus free speech be saved?” and “From equal pay to paid leave: How to fight the left’s wooing of women.”
MEANWHILE IN HOLLYWOOD
A certain former first lady is attracting attention in the luxury world.
“Michelle Obama is leading the Hollywood life,” advises TMZ, which has discovered that Mrs. Obama has rented a new home called “Shark House,” which is up for sale for $23 million and features an indoor shark tank.
In the recent months, Vox and other news sources have reported that Mrs. Obama and former President Barack Obama have enjoyed a $65 million book deal with Random House. The worth of the couple’s production deal with Netflix has not been revealed, but The Hill pointed out earlier this year that similar big names who signed on as creatives with the mammoth streaming service received $100 million — and up.
Back to the house, though.
“Our sources say there was incredible security present. The owner had to have all security cameras turned off. One realtor, who’s very well connected in the area, tells TMZ the buzz is that Michelle might be scoping out the neighborhood and/or that particular house to set down roots,” TMZ noted. “Now that she and the former Prez are empty nesters, there’s nothing keeping them in D.C., and L.A. makes a lot of sense given their recent Netflix deal and other entertainment projects.”
Fox News Channel remains the most-watched basic cable network of all for the 26th week in a row according to Nielsen Media Research — even as MSNBC and CNN marked their lowest rated week of the year. Fox garnered 2 million prime-time viewers, compared to 1.2 million for MSNBC and 705,000 for CNN.
Presentations of “Special Report,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity,” “The Five,” “The Ingraham Angle” and “Justice with Judge Jeanine” made up 20 of the top 30 telecasts last week, Nielsen found.
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: Historic log cabin originally built in 1780 and expanded during Civil War on two acres near Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. Three bedrooms, two baths, exposed beams, brickwork and other architectural details; dual staircase leading to open-concept second floor. Completely updated, current use as Air B&B property. Includes stone retaining walls, chicken coops with flight pen, smoke house, work shop, “in upscale community — everybody loves it.” Priced at $259,900 through ColdwellBankerHomes.com; find the home here
POLL DU JOUR
• 78% of Americans have a favorable opinion of NASA.
• 75% are interested in space exploration.
• 59% say the benefits of space exploration exceed its costs.
• 56% say extraterrestrial life exists.
• 31% would consider going into space themselves.
• 6% say the U.S. moon landing “was staged.”
Source: A C-SPAN/IPSOS poll of 1,020 U.S. adults conducted June 14-17 and released Thursday.
• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin
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