In a move that will further bolster the economy, Trump reached agreement with House Democrats to move forward on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), giving the president a major win. Within days, Trump also reached a “Phase 1” trade deal with China, postponing new tariffs on Chinese goods that were set to kick in and cutting tariffs on some Chinese products he had previously imposed in half. The administration expects a $200 billion boost in exports over two years from the deal. Both deals will certainly bolster the president’s standing with the rural and working-class voters who defected to Trump from the Democrats in 2016.
That’s not all. Trump also reached agreement with Democrats on a spending bill averting a government shutdown. He secured Democratic support on a tax bill that would repeal three Obamacare taxes, including the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance — a major win for union workers. And the House approved a $738 billion defense spending bill that would authorize the creation of his Space Force and his parental leave policy for federal workers, while not including restrictions Democrats had threatened on use of defense dollars to build a border wall.
Trump also got good news from across the pond, when Boris Johnson’s Conservatives trounced the Labour Party by effectively following Trump’s 2016 campaign script — appealing to working-class voters with an anti-globalist message, promises to protect entitlements and make “colossal” investments in infrastructure. The Tory victory showed that Trump’s brand of conservative populism is still potent.
To top it all off, Trump learned that the Justice Department inspector general found that the FBI had falsified evidence in its applications to the FISA court to conduct surveillance on former campaign adviser Carter Page, as part of its counterintelligence investigation into his presidential campaign, and that — contrary to former FBI director James B. Comey’s claims — the Democratic National Committee-funded Steele dossier played a “central and essential role” in authorizing that surveillance.
Ah, say the critics, but this good news was bookended by the dark cloud of impeachment, which dimmed the luster of Trump’s successes. The opposite is true. Many of these successes happened precisely because of impeachment. Until now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had been dragging her feet on the USMCA and other Trump priorities. So why did the legislative logjam break precisely the same week that Democrats introduced their articles of impeachment?
Because Democrats know that voters see them focusing on impeachment at the expense of getting things done. Moderate Democrats running in Trump districts have seen the polling showing that two-thirds of swing-state voters who cast their ballots for Trump in 2016, but then voted for Democrats in 2018, plan to back Trump again in 2020. One of them, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), was so alarmed he is switching to the Republican Party. As the rest of the Democrats are forced to walk the plank on impeachment, they are desperate to show that they are also working with Trump on the kitchen-table issues they campaigned on. Trump didn’t get all this done despite impeachment; impeachment is the reason Democrats allowed gridlock to finally give way.
Impeachment is both a legislative and political plus for Trump. After weeks of hearings, most polls show that support for impeachment and removal has gone down — especially in swing states. Before the impeachment hearings began, a GOP poll by Firehouse Strategies showed Trump trailing his Democratic challengers; now, in the wake of the impeachment hearings, Trump is leading them all. The politics will only get worse for Democrats going forward. As soon as the House votes, impeachment moves to the Republican-controlled Senate. When the Senate acquits Trump, as it inevitably will, the spirits of the “Resistance” will be dampened — while Trump supporters will be energized by his victory and claimed vindication.
Bottom line: The economy is humming, Trump’s accomplishments are accumulating and impeachment is backfiring — and that makes these the best weeks of Trump’s presidency so far.