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Adults of all ages agree: There's little confidence in elected leaders

But in general, young adults have a lot more trust issues than their elders

Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.

While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."

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Big Picture

Survey: Elected women outperform men, but a woman is unlikely to beat Trump

People favor an increase in female candidates and some think they often do a better job in office than men — but they are less certain that a woman can defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

That is among several intriguing results of a survey released Thursday by All in Together, a nonpartisan political education nonprofit that urges women to participate in civic life and politics in particular.

The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Aug. 2-9 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

More than half of respondents (58 percent) said that more female candidates has "been a good thing for the country." Also, 42 percent of women and 23 percent of men said that women in elected officials do a better job that men.

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Democratic presidential candidates debate at the Fox Theater in Detroit.

At the next debates, ask about things a president can do

Marcum is a governance fellow at R Street Institute, a nonpartisan, pro-free-market, public policy research organization.

July's Democratic presidential debates highlighted a number of important national issues. From health care to economic inequality, candidates offered many purported solutions. The vast majority of these ambitious plans, however, face a fundamental constitutional roadblock: Congress.

Without congressional support, plans such as Medicare for All or amending the Immigration Nationality Act are dead on arrival. Voters, candidates and media alike are well aware that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would prevent any such legislation from passing his chamber, and if Republicans take the House, the chances for passage are even slimmer.

But if you were completely unfamiliar with American civics, you might have assumed from watching the debates that a president's role is to make policy and lambaste Congress when it does not comply. But of course, all legislative power rests with Congress. Viewers of the debates would be better served by questions that illuminate the presidency's actual institutional roles. These responsibilities are vital for governing, but we often fail to press candidates about them until it is too late.

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Rep. Joaquin Castro

Single tweet sparks intense debate on campaign donor privacy at a volatile time

A roster of only 44 campaign donors posted online generated one of the most passionate national debates of the summer on Wednesday — a hot mashup of disagreement about campaign finance, government openness, media ethics and the personal safety of the politically engaged.

The arguments were all the more intense because their backdrop is President Trump's own incendiary rhetoric, which in light of the weekend's twinned mass shootings has seemed to push campaign rhetoric beyond abstractly polarizing into palpably connected to violence.

The fire was lit Monday evening when Rep. Joaquin Castro posted on Twitter a list of his San Antonio constituents who have given the maximum allowable to Trump's re-election campaign this year. "Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as invaders," he tweeted.

To be sure, all their names and occupations are readily searchable by the public using the Federal Election Committee's robust online database. And many of them are well known and longstanding advocates for conservative causes and candidates in the biggest majority-Latino city in Texas.

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