November 28, 2020

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CNN’s Avlon Claims Most Americans Support Liberal Policies

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On Friday’s New Day show on CNN, political analyst John Avlon tried to provide comfort food for liberal audience members as he devoted his “Reality Check” segment to portraying liberal policies as being popular in spite of the close election results.

Avlon picked up on questionable polling on issues like illegal immigration, gun control and environmental regulations to portray liberalism as popular, and even tried to use presidential history trivia that turned out to be wrong to further put down President Donald Trump’s failure to win the popular vote.

After beginning his commentary with the premise that Americans are “actually less divided” on issues than the election results would suggest, he then cited Pew Research polling to show most Americans are sympathetic to illegal immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents as children:

Take immigration — one of the most bitterly divisive issue of our time. According to the 2020 Pew Research surveys, 74 percent of Americans support legal status for immigrants brought here illegally as children, known as “dreamers” or DACA recipients. That might surprise you to know that a majority of Republicans surveyed — 54 percent — support such a bill.

He then cited polling suggesting that most Americans want government to do more in response to climate change: “What about climate change? Well, it turns out in another Pew survey that 65 percent of Americans think the government should do more to combat climate change. And a majority of Republicans support policies like tougher restrictions on power plant carbon emissions.”

He also cited discredited polling claiming that about 90 percent of Americans support requiring background checks on all gun purchases even though efforts to enact such laws have never come close to 90 percent support when voted on directly by voters:

But what about culture war hot button issues like gun reform? Well, if you get past the absolutist rhetoric, you’ll find that 92 percent of Republicans favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns — 82 percent of Republicans favor making private gun sales at gun shows subject to background checks — 54 percent of Republicans support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. And 50 percent of Republicans even support banning assault-style weapons.

Avlon didn’t highlight any examples of most voters agreeing with the conservative position on any issues.

Earlier in the segment, Avlon even mangled his presidential history trivia as he incorrectly claimed that President Trump is the only President who lost the popular vote twice: “But Biden won big, and there’s a reason beyond the rejection of Donald Trump, the only President to lose the popular vote twice…”

In fact, two Presidents — John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Harrison — lost the popular vote twice. Adams lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson twice, and was voted out of office the second time in 1828. Similarly, Harrison lost the popular vote to Grover Cleveland twice, and was voted out of office the second time in 1892.

This fact-challenged “Reality Check” segment was sponsored in part by USAA. Their contact information is linked.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, November 20, New Day on CNN:

7:46 a.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: All right, today, a heart-warming “Reality Check.” And yes, that’s an oxymoron. Even though outgoing President Trump continues trying to overturn a free and fair election, we may not be as divided as we seem. John Avlon has our “Reality Check.”

JOHN AVLON: Are we really as divided as we seem? Well, some hopeful data suggests otherwise. Even in 1968, a year of assassinations and riots, the presidential election was decided by a razor-thin margin of 521,000 votes. This year, with a more than five million popular vote gap separating Joe Biden from Donald Trump, the nation’s bitterly divided with a President who for the fist time in modern history is refusing to concede. But Biden won big, and there’s a reason beyond the rejection of Donald Trump, the only President to lose the popular vote twice, because, even with all our deepening partisan and regional divisions, we’re actually less divided than meets the eye when it comes to public policy.

Take immigration — one of the most bitterly divisive issue of our time. According to the 2020 Pew Research surveys, 74 percent of Americans support legal status for immigrants brought here illegally as children, known as “dreamers” or DACA recipients. That might surprise you to know that a majority of Republicans surveyed — 54 percent — support such a bill. Okay, but maybe that’s an odd outlier.

Say, what about climate change? Well, it turns out in another Pew survey that 65 percent of Americans think the government should do more to combat climate change. And a majority of Republicans support policies like tougher restrictions on power plant carbon emissions. Against that backdrop, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that another Biden priority, infrastructure investment, is also broadly popular with the support of 83 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats. So maybe we’ll finally get infrastructure done for real. 

But what about culture war hot button issues like gun reform? Well, if you get past the absolutist rhetoric, you’ll find that 92 percent of Republicans favor preventing people with mental illnesses from buying guns — 82 percent of Republicans favor making private gun sales at gun shows subject to background checks — 54 percent of Republicans support banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. And 50 percent of Republicans even support banning assault-style weapons.

Leadership matters — so does public opinion. As Lincoln said, “In this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail and against it, nothing can succeed.” That’s why this data should give you a little bit of hope for the future. We are not, in fact, as divided as we seem. And for that reason, give thanks as we head towards Thanksgiving. And that’s your “Reality Check.”

Brad Wilmouth


2020-11-20 13:16:00


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