Trump Hits His Electoral Stride

The best week of Donald Trump’s presidency to date began on Friday, January 31, when Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski announced she would cast the deciding vote to close the Senate impeachment trial without agreeing to Democrat demands to call new witnesses, such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who might embarrass the president.

Murkowski’s announcement was also a victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who succeeded in holding together his thin Republican majority against hearing new witnesses despite the furor over a leak from within the White House to the New York Times claiming that Bolton’s forthcoming book would confirm that Trump had delayed US aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

It was Trump’s latest political win in a string of significant recent accomplishments on the international trade and diplomatic fronts which had boosted his job approval ratings to an all-time high in the Gallup poll to 49%. The decisions announced by Murkowski and previously by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander to stand by McConnell against new witnesses forced Democrats to realize that their efforts to seize control of the Senate impeachment trial had failed, and prompted them to ask for a postponement of the final vote on Trump’s conviction or acquittal until after the Iowa caucuses, which turned out to be a fiasco for the Democrats on several counts.

First came the embarrassment at the failure of the Iowa state Democrat party to tally and report the results of the February 3 caucus voting in a timely fashion. The state party blamed the problem on a new app which the state party had bought in response to demands by the Sanders campaign for tallying reforms, due to lingering controversies about the vote count in the 2016 caucuses, in which Hillary Clinton was declared the winner by a surprisingly narrow margin over Bernie Sanders.

According to reports by the Des Moines Register, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, the app was purchased by the Iowa state party from a little-known start-up called Shadow, Inc. based upon a recommendation from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), despite the firm’s lack of previous experience and expertise in the field. The company’s main qualification for the contract was its political connections to the Clintons.

CLINTON FINGERPRINTS ON THE FAULTY IOWA APP

Shadow is run by a trio of veterans of the failed Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign who presented themselves as experts in digital campaigning. The company had previously been known as Groundbase, a failing tech firm which was rescued from bankruptcy by a multi-million-dollar investment by a non-profit called Acronym, which was closely associated with the primary super PAC for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Acronym also used its contacts in the DNC to help the renamed company sell its unimpressive software products to all the state parties and presidential candidate campaigns.

According to the New York Times, Shadow accepted a contract from the Iowa state committee to build the app for reporting caucus results, which software experts at Google had turned down because they felt there was not enough time to build the app, adequately test it, fix any major bugs and then train the people running the caucuses in its use. The task was made even more difficult because Shadow’s staff lacked adequate coding know-how.

The Iowa state party compounded its error by failing to adequately man the telephone hotline established as a backup in case the app failed. Local caucus managers reported that when the apps failed and they called to report the voting results manually, they had to wait on hold for hours before someone on the other end would answer and accept their information. Even then, Iowa state party officials had difficulty coming up with an accurate tally of the complicated caucus voting system, delaying the release of the first partial results for two days.

FALLOUT FROM THE VOTE COUNT DELAY

The Democrat presidential candidate campaigns, which had worked for months to achieve a breakthrough victory in the caucuses, were furious at the delay, because it eliminated most of the positive media attention and fund-raising boost they anticipated if their candidate had achieved a strong showing in Iowa. The bitterest complaints came from the Sanders campaign, as he had been leading in the Iowa polls in the runup to the caucuses.

Without an official vote count, media outlets were left to speculate for the next two days on the likely outcome in Iowa, largely based on the private polling of people entering caucus sites across Iowa. Those polls, supported by media reporting from individual caucuses across the state while they were in progress, indicated that supporters of former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg had roughly matched the pro-Sanders turnout in both numbers and enthusiasm, making the results too close for the media to call a clear winner.

That conclusion was confirmed when the state party finally began releasing partial vote counts. When the party announced its final tally on Friday, four days after the caucuses, it said that Sanders supporters had turned out in slightly greater numbers statewide, but Buttigieg had earned two more nominating delegates than Biden according to a complicated formula established by the state party. Both candidates claimed victory, with about 26% each of the total vote count, but by that time media attention had turned to the New Hampshire primary on February 8, where Biden and Buttigieg were also leading the next three candidates to finish in the Iowa caucuses – Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Amy Klobuchar – by a wide margin in the latest polls.

Warren’s third place finish in Iowa with 18% of the vote was a disappointment for her campaign, which had hoped to finish closer to Sanders in their ongoing battle for support from progressive Democrat voters. But Joe Biden’s even more disappointing fourth place finish, with 15.8% of the vote, was widely interpreted as a blow to his reputation as the frontrunner in the race for the Democrat nomination, and raised questions about the continued viability of his campaign.

A BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL

Mainstream Democrat party leaders supporting Biden have been counting on a big victory for him among black Democrat primary voters in South Carolina on February 29. After his poor showing in Iowa, Biden will need that big win in South Carolina, as well as more respectable results in the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses on February 22, to confirm his frontrunner status going into Super Tuesday, March 3, when a third of the Democrat national convention delegates will be chosen by primaries and caucuses held in 16 states. In the Democrat debate held in Manchester four days before New Hampshire’s primary day, Biden seemed to concede that he expected to again finish third or lower behind Sanders and Buttigieg.

The fifth place in Iowa was claimed by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who did better than expected with 12.3% of the total vote. But most observers believe that Klobuchar will have to start finishing higher than that if her presidential campaign, with a relatively moderate message compared to the rest of the field, is to survive long enough to reach Super Tuesday. She appeared to be making progress in New Hampshire, drawing ahead of Biden and Warren in a tight race for third place in some of the last polls released before the primary.

The other declared Democrat presidential candidates finished in Iowa with less than 1% of the caucus votes, and are not expected to stay in the race much longer, with the exception of billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, who are using their immense personal wealth to self-fund their campaigns.

Aside from Biden and Buttigieg, Bloomberg was the biggest winner from the muddled results in Iowa. It played into his long-term strategy of entering the campaign late, starting on Super Tuesday, and employing his vast fortune to do well enough in the remaining contests to be chosen at the Democrat National Convention, starting on July 13, as a consensus presidential candidate, if no clear winner is apparent when the primary voting concludes at the end of June.

The long delay in announcing the Iowa vote count, and the failure of state party officials to tell the campaigns and the public exactly what the problem was, or how long it would take to fix, was a serious embarrassment for Democrats. It was the greatest operational fiasco they had suffered since the troubled launch of the Obamacare insurance market website in 2013. It also raised questions in the minds of the voting public about Democrat competence to expand or completely take over the national health care system through their Medicare for All proposals.

A DEMOCRAT ENTHUSIASM GAP

A closer look at the voter and entrance polling data for the Iowa caucuses had more bad news for the Democrats. Their strategy for defeating Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election bid was always based on the assumption that American voters across the political spectrum would be energized by their rejection of the president’s personality and governing style, as well as his policies, and turn out in record numbers to vote against him in November. But the voter turnout among Democrats in Iowa last week failed to show any such groundswell of new voters. It was about 25% lower than Democrats had expected, and far smaller than the record Iowa caucus turnout for Barack Obama in 2008.

Another problem for Biden is that among the leading five candidates in Iowa, he had the smallest number of supporters among voters age 18-24, with just 1% of the total, and just 2% of voters between the ages of 25-29. By contrast, Sanders won 64% of the 18-24 voters, and 49% of those between 25-29. This raises the possibility that if Biden does emerge with the Democrat presidential nomination, and Sanders supporters believe that their candidate was cheated again by the party, Biden and other Democrat candidates could have considerable difficulty attracting the votes of angry younger Sanders supporters in the November general election.

On the other hand, many Democrat strategists believe that Sanders’ openly socialist proposals are far too radical for most independent voters. They fear that his presidential candidacy could lead to catastrophic losses for Democrats in the November election, comparable to those suffered when George McGovern topped their ticket in 1972.

ALTERNATIVE CANDIDATE LIABILITIES

The leading presidential alternatives to Biden and Sanders for the Democrats each come with their own liabilities.

Buttigieg is articulate, but young and inexperienced. His universal health care proposal is more moderate than those of Sanders and Warren, but his liberal lifestyle, his poor record in handling racial issues as mayor of South Bend, and his radical proposals, such as doing away with the Electoral College, are potentially serious problems for his candidacy, especially in a general election..

Warren’s open hostility towards corporate America and the wealthy has deeply alienated major Democrat business donors, and her past claims and affiliations have raised serious questions about her honesty and credibility.

Despite his support for liberal environmental and gun control measures, Bloomberg’s checkered political past raises questions about his acceptability as the national Democrat standard-bearer. His effort to use his wealth to buy the presidential nomination is sure to outrage Sanders and Warren supporters, and worry all those concerned about the corrupting influence of money on national politics. Bloomberg will have trouble winning black support, because of the stop-and-frisk crime control policies he supported while he was New York City mayor, despite his recent apologies for them. Finally, Bloomberg is a poor public speaker, and is unlikely to do well in one-on-one presidential debates with Donald Trump.

One of the first rules of political strategy is not to let yourself get in the way of your opponents when they are making negative headlines about themselves. For a change, Trump followed that rule by saying relatively little last week about the train wreck in the Iowa caucuses as it unfolded, as his would-be Democrat opponents in November moved into New Hampshire for a final campaigning sprint, angry and frustrated.

As mainstream media analysts tried to sort out the winners and losers from the incomplete results of the Iowa fiasco, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews declared the real winner to be the “guy in the White House who is chuckling all night here [by] showing the Democrats can’t even get a three-car funeral organized. . . I would say to the people of Iowa, ‘Will the last person leaving Des Moines please turn out the lights?’ This has not been a success.”

As Democrat candidates continued to tear into one another, seeking a clear advantage, or to survive to fight another day in the race for the nomination, Trump’s political strategists were busy collecting quotes and video clips to reuse against the Democrat who emerges to run against the president in the general election campaign.

TRUMP-PELOSI STATE OF THE UNION CONFRONTATION

Trump also had a lot of other important things to talk about as the week unfolded.

The night before the Senate was scheduled to take its final vote, deciding to convict or acquit on the articles of impeachment, Trump made his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presiding. Everybody was watching closely as the two sworn political enemies went through the rituals of the event, eager to see how they would express their mutual animosities.

Pelosi shed first blood by deleting the traditional language from her introduction of the president of the United States on such occasions. She skipped the usual preamble phrase, “it is my high privilege and distinct honor” and simply announced “the President of the United States.” Trump pretended not to notice, but as Pelosi then extended her hand in greeting, he continued turning away from her toward the audience, and did not stop to acknowledge the gesture, leaving Pelosi briefly standing there awkwardly with her hand extended.

But Pelosi was determined to get her revenge by again showing her disdain for the president. As he was making what even his critics later admitted was one of the most politically effective speeches of his presidency, Pelosi was sitting directly behind his back, making faces for the television cameras, muttering, and shaking her head as the president reviewed his recent accomplishments. At the end, she dramatically stood, methodically tore up the text of his speech and threw down the pieces while still at the podium, in what she later admitted was a premeditated and deliberate act of public scorn.

Later, Pelosi was totally unapologetic. She dismissed the content of Trump’s speech a “manifesto of mistruths,” and told House Democrats the next day during a closed-door caucus meeting, “He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech.” Pelosi also accused the president of “disrespecting” the House chamber by using it as a “backdrop for a reality show … to give a speech that had no connection with reality.” Her fellow Democrats reacted by giving her a standing ovation, but others who watched the petty act of payback play out on national television were dismayed by the spectacle.

One of them was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He spent four years in Pelosi’s current House post and now is a respected authority on American history. He wrote, “As a former Speaker of the House who introduced President Bill Clinton four times with the right language, I was stunned at her petty nastiness. She is the Speaker of the whole House, not just the Speaker of the Democrats.”

TRUMP’S BEST SPEECH YET

But Gingrich also noted that “Pelosi’s petty bitterness was being drowned by the extraordinary speech the president had delivered. . . The State of the Union was actually a remarkably well-developed presentation that had human touches [which included] a young girl who survived being born prematurely. . . a soldier surprising his family with his return from Afghanistan. . . the list goes on and on.

“The closing offered a positive vision of America’s future and had such emotional power that people I know had tears in their eyes listening to it,” Gingrich said.

Another veteran political observer who gave Trump’s State of the Union speech the highest marks was Peggy Noonan, credited with having written some of President Ronald Reagan’s most memorable speeches. In recent months, she has been highly critical of Trump, but in a column last week, she berated Pelosi for her clumsy attempt to beat Trump at his own game by tearing up a copy of his speech, while still standing at the House podium in front of the television cameras.

Noonan’s complaint was that it was undignified, and that by doing so, Pelosi had sacrificed one of her moral advantages over the president.

“The classy lady was not classy,” Noonan wrote. “She forgot she has a higher responsibility than to her base. . . to her country, the institution, the young who are watching and just getting a sense of how to behave in the world. . . This is how a great lady becomes just another hack.”

Noonan was equally critical of the progressive Democrat congressmen and senators who chose to boycott Trump’s State of the Union address, as well as those who did come, but “slouched angrily in their seats, looking down, refusing to rise for all the heroes in the balcony,” when Trump skillfully introduced them during the speech.

DO DEMOCRATS REALIZE HOW BAD THEY LOOK?

Noonan asked of the Democrats rhetorically, following “the fiasco in Iowa, the foolishness at the State of the Union, do they realize how bad they look?

“. . . Do they understand what a disaster this was for them? If Mr. Trump wins re-election, if in fact it isn’t close, it will be traceable to this first week in February.”

Noonan noted that by failing to show up for Trump’s speech, Democrats had “abandoned the field and let the Congress of the United States look like one big, cheering, unified bastion of boisterous Republicans. . .

“The speech itself was shrewd and its political targeting astute,” Noonan concluded. “There were the usual boasts: ‘The unemployment rate is the lowest in half a century’ – but they had force in the aggregate. The policy that was emphasized (opportunity zones, expanded vocational education, neonatal research combined with a call to ban late-term abortions, expanded child credits) combined with the heroes in the balcony (a Border Patrol agent, a kid trying to get into a charter school, the brother of a victim of crime) was powerful and rich in inference.”

TRUMP’S “REALITY SHOW”

Pelosi was right when she called the speech “a reality show.” But it was an especially effective example of that genre which Trump had perfected during his previous career as a network television star.

Each of the introduced guests had been chosen to put a human face on one of Trump’s high priority policy issues. These include ending homelessness, promoting the right to life, supporting school choice, honoring those who sacrifice for our safety and freedom, protecting the borders, and condemning sanctuary cities.

The Democrats, who refused to stand up or applaud for the guests in the gallery as Trump introduced them, helped to highlight the president’s point: his opponents have no respect for this country’s greatest living heroes or for America’s heritage of freedom and personal accomplishment through hard work and self-sacrifice.

Trump also borrowed a trick from former President Bill Clinton’s political playbook by adopting some of the more popular Democrat issues for his own use, including paid family leave, reducing prescription drug prices, and instituting prison reforms.

TRUMP’S NEW OUTREACH TO BLACK VOTERS

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was ridiculed by the pundits for asking members of the black and Hispanic communities whose support has been taken for granted by Democrats for generations to take a chance by voting for him, asking them, “What do you have to lose?”

Only 8% of blacks took that chance and voted for Trump in 2016. But four years later, he has a more powerful case to make for their support. In the State of the Union speech, he touted the lowest unemployment rates for black, Hispanic, Asian-American and disabled workers in history, combined with much faster-rising wages for those at the bottom of the pay scale, thanks to the ongoing Trump boom in new job creation.

The talking points were not new, but their delivery in that context was highly effective. CNN’s black liberal commentator, Van Jones, was one of the first to publicly recognize during the 2016 campaign that Trump had a good chance to win the presidency. He was right again when he said, immediately following the State of the Union speech, that Trump was making a serious play for the votes of blacks and Hispanics, and that his fellow Democrats were foolish not to see the threat.

Trump won the election in 2016 by successfully appealing to the working-class voters in the Rust Belt states whose votes the Clinton campaign was relying upon to provide a “blue wall” assuring her victory, even though the Democrats had neglected their needs for far too long.

Over the past three years, Trump has been working to keep his promises to those workers to maintain their support this November, while making a similar appeal to expand his base to include black and Hispanic workers who have also benefitted from his policies.

All Trump needs is a few more percentage points from those minority voter groups to put several blue states whose control Democrats have taken for granted for years back into play.

MORE THAN JUST A THROWAWAY LINE IN A SPEECH

The Wall Street Journal editorial page also noted that Trump’s outreach effort for black and other minority was much more serious than a few throwaway lines in a 90-minute speech.

The Sunday before the State of the Union speech, Trump’s re-election campaign devoted half of its $10 million Super Bowl ad campaign highlighting Trump’s commutation of a black woman’s life prison sentence for a drug offense.

Then, during the State of the Union speech, Trump made prominent mention of prominent black historical icons, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King Jr. in his tribute to American greatness.

When Trump asked 100-year-old Charles McGee, the last surviving member of the first all-black Tuskegee Army Air Force squadron in World War II, to stand up, he also noted the ambition of McGee’s young great-grandson, who wants to become a member of a new generation of American astronauts.

Trump saluted Tony Rankins, a black military veteran who had been addicted to drugs, gone to prison and suffered homelessness. He then turned his life around by landing a good job in one of the economic “opportunity zones” created by the 2017 Trump tax cut bill, which use tax incentives to funnel private investment capital into low-income areas.

The president mentioned the bi-partisan prison reform legislation which he supported and signed into law. It has resulted in the early release of young black men who were given overly long sentences in federal prisons for non-violent offenses, returning them to their communities and giving them a second chance to lead a productive life.

Trump also announced that a young black girl from Philadelphia in the audience would be receiving a scholarship to allow her to attend a better charter school instead of a failing public school. That opportunity had previously been denied to her when the Democrat governor of Pennsylvania vetoed state legislation that would have expanded school choice for poor families.

HIGH MARKS FROM TRUMP’S TOUGHEST CRITICS

Trump, who is usually at his best when improvising in front of a friendly audience, rather than reading a script off of a teleprompter, outdid himself on this occasion. He did have a lot of good material to work with in describing some of the remarkable guests sitting in the House gallery. He told their stories of resilience and perseverance, love and devotion. He had his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh, who had announced the previous day to his nationwide audience that he was battling advanced lung cancer.

Even the mainstream media had to recognize the popularity of Trump’s State of the Union speech with those who watched it. A CNN poll taken immediately following the speech found that 76 percent of the audience approved of Trump’s message. A CBS poll came to the same conclusion, reporting that 75 percent of the watchers it interviewed had approved.

Peggy Noonan also reluctantly applauded the effectiveness of Trump’s outreach to minority voters as “a realignment I have supported and a reposition I have called for.” She added, “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t please me to see it represented so effectively, [except] I very much regret that the president is a bad man and half mad, because if he weren’t, I’d be cheering.”

THE BITTER END OF PELOSI’S IMPEACHMENT MISTAKE

The day after the State of the Union speech, the Senate finally put an end to the Democrat impeachment effort which had been doomed to failure ever since the day Nancy Pelosi launched it, against her better political judgement, last September. Six months earlier, in March, Pelosi had publicly warned her colleagues against that course of action, stating, “I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.” Her instincts were right in that case, but they were not strong enough. She succumbed to relentless pressure from progressives in her party to seize the first plausible excuse to launch an impeachment effort.

Unfortunately, she used Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine as the basis of the impeachment effort one day too soon. She had made her decision based on exaggerated media reports of the whistleblower’s complaint, whereas if she had waited another day, which would have enabled her to read the transcript of the call, she would have realized that the evidence in the case would be too weak, and likely never would have gone forward with it.

The weakness of that case explained all the subsequent mistakes Pelosi subsequently made in controlling the impeachment process. To make the most of the inadequate evidence of Trump’s guilt that was available, Pelosi set up rules which denied the president and his defenders due process of law. The same rules enabled Adam Schiff to cherry-pick from the witness testimony given in secret that made the president look bad and systematically leak it to the media. She then rushed the process of collecting evidence and drafting the articles of impeachment to conform to the political calendar of a presidential election year.

The result was two articles of impeachment with significant constitutional and legal flaws, backed by an incomplete record of witness testimony which relied on inference instead of hard evidence to prove Trump’s guilt.

Recognizing that the evidence was inadequate, Pelosi arbitrarily imposed a month’s delay in starting the Senate trial in a failed effort to pressure McConnell into allowing the House trial managers to continue searching for evidence against Trump instead of quickly making their arguments to enable a speedy verdict.

By the time Trump delivered his State of the Union speech, Pelosi realized that her five-month effort to remove him from office was about to go down to a defeat which would weaken Democrat prospects for beating him in the November election and endanger her continued majority control over the House.

The impeachment vote itself the next day was anti-climactic. Its outcome, Trump’s acquittal, was a foregone conclusion. Schumer kept his Senate Democrats in line, even persuading Alabama’s Doug Jones to cast his vote to convict Trump that will doom Jones’ bid for a full Senate term in the November election.

MITT ROMNEY RETURNS TO FORM

Utah Senator Mitt Romney’s decision to break ranks by becoming the only Republican to vote for Trump’s conviction on the abuse of power impeachment count was disappointing, but not surprising. Romney had previously broken ranks with McConnell, along with Maine’s Susan Collins, to vote in favor of calling new witnesses, but Collins, who had proven her ability to make up her own mind during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, easily reached the conclusion that the accusations against Trump, even if true, did not warrant his removal from office, and voted against both articles of impeachment.

Romney’s decision was likely based upon his personal animus towards Trump, dating back to the 2016 election. While running for the GOP nomination, Trump had publicly accused Romney of “choking” as President Barack Obama’s Republican challenger during the 2012 presidential campaign.

On March 3, 2016, Romney responded by delivering a 20-minute speech publicly condemning Trump, who was then his party’s frontrunner, in the harshest terms. He called Trump’s promises “worthless,” described him as a “fraud,” and claimed that “he’s playing the American public for suckers.” Romney then led a brief Republican “Never Trump” movement. He urged Republican voters to support any of Trump’s remaining rivals for the GOP nomination, and predicted a November victory by Hillary Clinton if Trump was her opponent.

After Trump defied the prediction by defeating Clinton, he toyed with Romney by dangling the post of Secretary of State before him during the transition, before finally giving it to Rex Tillerson. When Romney decided to run for Orrin Hatch’s open Utah Senate seat in 2018, Trump gave him no better than pro forma support. After winning the Senate seat, but before taking office, Romney published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he renewed his attacks on the president’s character.

In announcing his decision to vote in favor of one of the articles of impeachment, Romney did not go into great length in explaining his reasons. He simply said that he believed that what Trump had done with regard to Ukraine was serious enough to justify his removal from office, though he did offend several of his fellow Republican senators by stating that his vote to convict Trump was compelled by his religious faith, implicitly casting aspersion on those who voted to acquit the president.

While some Democrats and the anti-Trump mainstream media celebrated Romney’s “courage” in voting to convict Trump, many conservative Republicans felt that it only confirmed their original dubious opinion of Romney’s political convictions, going back to the liberal policies he supported while he served as Republican governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007.

TRUMP GETS HIS PAYBACK

Trump responded to Romney’s vote and Pelosi’s gesture at the State of the Union speech the morning after the Senate impeachment vote, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. He entered the room at the Washington Hilton triumphantly holding aloft two newspapers, USA Today and the Washington Post, both carrying front page headlines saying “Acquitted.” He began with a shot at Mitt Romney, whose name he did not mention, by saying, “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.” Then in Pelosi’s presence, but without mentioning her name, Trump challenged her oft-repeated claim that she prays for his welfare every day by saying, “Nor do I like people who say, ‘I pray for you,’ when they know that that’s not so.”

A few hours later, in the East Room of the White House, Trump gathered a crowd of Republican lawmakers, political allies and members of the inner circle of his administration for an impromptu celebration at which he took the opportunity to thank all those who helped him through the impeachment ordeal which had ended the previous day, and to reflect on the witch hunts he survived during his first term which he doubted that other presidents could have endured.

He noted that his enemies had been plotting his destruction from the moment he declared his candidacy in 2015, “the day we came down the elevator” at Trump Tower in New York City. The enemies included James Comey, the former FBI director who secretly recorded his conversations with the president, and the FBI investigators and Mueller’s special counsel team, who Trump said were all “dirty cops.”

He endured “Russia-Russia-Russia” hoax for three years, was constantly being falsely accused by “leakers and liars,” and was treated “unbelievably unfairly” by a hostile media which conspired in an “evil” joint effort to remove him from office for no valid reason.

Some of Trump’s critics in the media complained about his use of the prestigious East Room of the White House to host a televised personal victory party at which he took the time to thank his friends, political allies and defense lawyers for their support. But Newt Gingrich defended Trump’s right to take that liberty, including the use of some profane language to express his feelings, in light of all he has endured since coming to the White House.

“President Trump won the 2016 election and thought he would be accepted as president. Instead, from the day after the election, he was hounded, derided and attacked by a combination of so-called never-Trumpers, Democrats, and the left-wing media,” Gingrich wrote.

“He sustained smears by people on his own national security staff. He faced a totally one-sided Democrat witch hunt in the House (which broke all the rules of fairness and bipartisanship).

“He had to watch personal friends be harassed – and in some cases brought near bankruptcy – by absurd legal expenses.

“Finally, he has seen his own family being unfairly attacked and ridiculed. . .

“In this circumstance, what would you do?” Gingrich asked his readers.

LOOKING FORWARD

When the East Room celebration ended, Trump and his supporters went back to work. Pelosi, Schumer, and their fellow Democrats were busy licking their wounds and worrying about the outcome of the muddled Democrat presidential candidate selection process. They were also still talking about renewing the impeachment process by calling for John Bolton and other witnesses to the making of Trump’s Ukraine policies to testify before House committees. They are also seeking grounds to launch new investigations of Trump for his acts of “retaliation” by firing Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who were the main witnesses against him in the impeachment trial. However, it is clear that the American public has no more patience for the endless Democrat politically-driven investigations which always seem to come up empty.

On Friday, yet another Democrat legal attack on Trump was thrown out of the DC Circuit federal appeals court. The three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the 230 Democrats who wanted the court to forbid foreign payments to Trump-owned businesses because of the anti-corruption emoluments clause in the US Constitution, lacked sufficient legal standing to sue the president.

Meanwhile, Trump, along with his Republican allies who are now more united behind him than ever, are looking forward to the 2020 campaign with increased confidence that he can defeat whomever the Democrats pick to run against him, and in doing so help Republicans to take back control of the House and increase their majority in the Senate.

The same Gallup poll which gave Trump the highest job approval number of his presidency, at 49%, also found that 63% of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, despite the constant complaints by Trump’s Democrat opponents about income inequality and the American working and middle classes being left behind. It also reported that 90% of Americans said they were “satisfied” with their personal lives, and 65% said they were “very satisfied.”

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH

As economic growth and new job creation continues, more Americans are realizing that the Democrat complaints aren’t true.

Consumer confidence is high because any American worker who wants a job today can find one. Millions of working-class families are catching up economically because wages are increasing much faster than inflation, especially at the bottom of the income scale. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs are still being created each month, and more long-idle workers are coming out of the woodwork to re-enter the labor force to take advantage of the new opportunities.

Trump’s new trade deals with China, Canada, Mexico and Japan are leveling the playing field in international markets, restoring business confidence and encouraging new investment, which will further accelerate the rate of growth of the American economy.

TRUMP HAS EARNED THE TRUST OF CONSERVATIVES

Trump’s November re-election prospects are bright because Republicans and conservative-minded independents have learned to trust him to keep pursuing their agenda. That includes transforming the federal judiciary with the appointment of reliably conservative judges, stimulating economic growth by cutting taxes and eliminating unnecessary government regulations, defending our individual constitutional and religious rights, re-asserting border control and respect for law and order, strengthening the US military and our closest allies abroad, while working to bring more of our troops home and avoiding new foreign military entanglements.

The country still has many problems, including the needs to reduce very high prescription drug prices, for more investment in infrastructure, more affordable housing and medical care, and lower budget deficits. But Trump and his supporters understand that nothing that the government gives its citizens really is “free,” and that Trump’s solutions will not require the replacement of free markets and private enterprise with socialism, more government controls and higher taxes.

The icing on the cake last week for Trump’s brightening re-election prospects was Friday’s unexpectedly strong January jobs report. It confirmed that despite the headwinds facing the US economy today, including the impact of the coronavirus epidemic in China and further delays in the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX airliner, continued growth and prosperity seem to be assured through the November election and into next year.