FORT WAYNE — President Donald Trump has had a good week. The political standards have been lowered, so to phrase it another way, compared to any alternatives, the President has had an excellent week. It is reflected in polling numbers closer to 50s than the 20s.  

In addition to the on-going strength of the economy, three things led to this mini-boom for Trump. 1.) The Democrats’ utter and complete failure on impeachment; 2.) His comparatively disciplined State of the Union address and; 3.) It was Democrat chaos. We’ll discuss those in order.

Impeachment was cheapened by the Republicans going after President Bill Clinton. Disgust with his personal behavior and repeated abuses of his power, led to an anger that translated into a “gotcha” over his personal behavior and attempts to cover it up. The focus was on the first count of second-degree perjury and, unless you hated Clinton so much that you didn’t care, it was merely a partisan exercise. Republicans knew going in that conviction was impossible.  

In 2019-2020, the Democrats, frankly, did something even more misguided. The underlying motives were the same: They hated Trump, they believed he did a host of things wrong that were worse than the alleged Ukrainian abuses of power, and they knew that a Republican Senate was not going to convict.  

The Democrats were even more misguided for several reasons. The Republicans at least had a proven case of a lie (i.e. stain on a dress) whereas the Democrats never established any base beyond the assertion of wrong-doing. It was inappropriate presidential behavior IF, a huge if, you assume his motive, you assume the Obama-Biden interventions were all good, you assume that the energy company was not key to the corruption, and you assume that the direct intervention of the administration to get Hunter Biden appointed to the energy company was not part of a deal leading to the Obama-Biden Administration putting the Ukraine government on a path to receiving aid they had not previously authorized.

The key words in their case were assume, assume, assume and assume. The failure was not because of a lack of witnesses in the Senate. It was the unwillingness of the Democrats to first establish and then emphasize the basic premises of their case by witnesses they could have called. It led to a failure to establish that Trump’s pressure on the Ukrainian government to investigate was totally political and unjustified except for personal political reasons.

They did not, frankly, even establish that asking for an investigation of a potential problem reached the level of an impeachable offense. They just assumed it for their cheering supporters. Trump was not demanding a reversal, but an investigation. Seriously, do people really believe past presidents didn’t ask for investigations of partisan opponents or even major contributors to the other side, if there was any possibility of wrong-doing?  Grow up.

Whether you approve of such behavior is not the question. The point of impeachment is whether it rises to the level of overturning an elected government? That is the question. 

The traditional media’s anti-Trump bias was blatant. He has baited them and falsely accused them of being fake news. However, when that media responded with so much bias as to add credibility to the charge of fake news, they – not just the president – further undermined the whole premise of needing a free media for accountability. All media – left, right and the theoretical unbiased press – has become partisan. Open-minded people are the losers.

Impeachment will likely lead to the Republicans certainly taking the Alabama Senate seat, making Democrat control unlikely. It increased the chances of Trump getting reelected. Republicans winning control of the House remains a long shot, but at least it is now a long shot. That said, with President Trump, tomorrow could implode.

But, with an opportunity to implode through tweets or his biggest prime-time moment yet, Trump stayed on a very effective script during his State of the Union address. If you want to know how partisan you are, ask yourself whether you thought his speech was ineffective. If you thought so, you are partisan. I never liked a Democrat State of the Union address. If I had, I would have been a Democrat.  

Trump was speaking, first and foremost, to those who voted for him. He hit all those buttons. Then he further solidified his commitment to and honoring of veterans. He also further obliterated any traditional GOP ties to balancing a budget or libertarian opposition to things like paid leave with multiple costly proposals in attempts to strengthen his blue-collar supporters who don’t like libertarian, upper income supported spending reductions.  

The president also made consistent overtures to African-Americans. It may be a doomed effort, but maybe not, depending upon who emerges as a nominee. Pete Buttigieg, for example, would have a lot of work to do. Regardless, the political strategy is to force Democrats to promise even more extreme things trying to make sure there is no slippage in their African-American vote. They also need to make sure there is enthusiasm. It makes it almost certain that the Democrats will nominate Sen. Kamala Harris of California for veep, unless the nominee is a female. Otherwise, Sen. Cory Booker, Gov. Deval Patrick or even longer shots like Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey (either would electrify the campaign) are possible VP choices.

This brings us to the ending of Iowa as the official beginning of the presidential campaign season. Its demographic mix has made it increasingly undependable as a Democrat nominee forecaster. It lost that among Republicans long ago. Now the fundamental premise – the Vermont style town hall structure – has broken down spectacularly, as new technology failed to modernize the antiquated vote-counting. If Sanders wins the popular vote and loses again, expect not only President Trump to trumpet that ”they” are trying to steal the nomination from Bernie again.

The Iowa Democrats’ incompetence was an incredible gift to Republicans giving surface credibility to the charge that they are not able to govern effectively. It very visibly demonstrated, in another way, the utter and total stupidity of the Democrats’ pursuit of impeachment.  Of course, it was going to dramatically weaken Biden who likely is their strongest candidate. Lastly, it showed again the potency of the leftist flank of the party.  

Trump, a dictionary version of not being a servant leader, again survived a failure to be the better person by shaking the speaker’s limp hand, because Speaker Pelosi ripped up his speech after it was over. Symbolically it was showing her disgust, in this case, not with him but the ideas he had just articulated. That symbol was a gift money cannot buy. 

Trump doesn’t have to be loved by voters; he just has to be disliked less. Because of that, he had a great week. 

Souder is a former Republican congressman from Indiana.