Anyone who read my confession last week knows I do not pretend to be dispassionate on the question of Donald Trump. I am an out-and-out Trump admirer. The British media, by contrast, are out-and-out Trump haters.
Which is why you never hear a balanced critique over here of how he is performing as President.
To get a measured analysis of how he is doing for his country and for his own political future, you have to turn to the conservative American media.
My first stop is the National Review (not Breitbart or the even more fawning Trump Train or American Action News). You can rely on the upmarket online political journal not to pull any punches and to run critical opinion. Its writers are by no means all fans of The Donald or the Trump syndrome.
However I suspect the redoubtable Victor Davis Hanson secretly is. In his recently published analysis of Trump’s fate, he is scrupulously fair about what detracts from Trump against what works in his favour as here.
If you are interested in what may determine Trump’s political future, I recommend it. Hanson starts with the bottom line – the things that matters most to the ordinary man – the economy and security:
‘If the economy grows at over 3 per cent or even more from the last quarter of 2017 to November 2018, if unemployment dips below 4 per cent, if the stock market holds at its record levels, if business, consumer, and corporate confidence keeps soaring, if illegal immigration continues to plummet, if construction and manufacturing stay on the upswing, if Trump’s national security team brings a new deterrence to foreign policy without a war with North Korea or Iran, and if energy production reaches ever-record levels, then voters will put up with a lot of Trump’s downsides.’
On the Trump’s poll ratings, which are holding despite the ‘Trump embarrassment factor’, Hanson observes that dissatisfaction with the man does not equal stating a preference for Elizabeth Warren; furthermore much depends on whether the Democrats continue on their suicidal route.
He details the evidence that shows Trump’s base to be as firm as it ever was against ‘the tsunami of scandals [that] has perhaps also weakened the entire narrative of progressives as feminist defenders in the so-called Republican war on women’.
The emerging Democrat sex scandal hypocrisy, just like their ‘preachy environmentalism, ever-larger government, “I got mine” elitist snobbery, static economic growth, and polarizing identity politics fuelled by supposed “white privilege”,’ will, he suspects, prove a further turn-off factor.
As to the the outcome of the Russian collusion investigations, Congress has yet to learn exactly what Robert Mueller ‘was or was not doing during his tenure in the Obama administration, when the Clintons, with assumed exemption, finessed special-favour deals with foreign interests, including and especially Russian uranium concerns, and exactly what the complex relationships were between the self-righteous James Comey, the FBI and intelligence communities, the FISA courts, the unmasking and leaking of classified intercepts of private-citizen communications, and the Steele smear dossier.’ Indeed.
For some strange reason we did not hear Mrs Clinton interrogated on any of this during her much-BBC-feted book publishing tour a month or so ago. If it turns out not to be at least as scandalous as anything Trump’s stupid minions tarnished themselves with, I will be very surprised.
My prediction (not Hanson’s) is that this is all going to be very disappointing for the British media who go into overdrive at any opportunity to smear Trump’s team. But no doubt they will continue to let the ever-seedier-looking Clintons off the hook.
Hanson concludes that Trump has learned politics more rapidly than his politically seasoned critics have learned to critique him. That, in my opinion, is why we will see him fighting and winning a second term.