Great Galluping Horny Toads!

Trump's almost above water, per Gallup. That's a bad thing. But it's not the only thing.

Well, Republicans are happy today with news from Gallup that Donald Trump's approval rating has swelled to an all-time high of 49%, against a disapproval rating of 50% (and leaving an unusually slim margin of 1% undecided).

And of course it does look good for Trump. They're crediting it to an "impeachment bump" and suggesting that it shows that once again the master of multidimensional chess has outfoxed his opponents, baiting Pelosi into impeaching him and then reaping the rewards.

I think we can dispense with the idea that he wanted to be impeached and that he's not even mad, he's happy it happened, he's laughing, really, out of hand. Donald has about as much of a poker face as he has a sense of humor and he's been visibly angry over it every day since it happened. Where he is the most histrionically angry, I think we could charitably read fear, as he doesn't like to show or experience fear and instead processes it as even more anger.

But did he luck his way into exactly what he needs to win re-election? I think it's fair to say that between the mess the Iowa Democratic Party has made of their caucus, his likely acquittal tomorrow, and these polling numbers, the only thing Donald needs to do to have a good news week is to watch his mouth a little and do moderately well at the State of the Union (as graded on the usually generous curve).

But while Gallup's own analysis suggests there may be an impeachment affect in play, it also offers a hint as to why the Republicans should not be celebrating nor should we be despairing.

Whether the rise in Trump's approval rating and the Republican Party's image is being driven by a backlash against impeachment, the strong economy or other factors may become clearer in the near future. If it is mostly impeachment-based, his approval rating may revert quickly back to pre-impeachment levels, as it did for Clinton. Within two months of his acquittal in February 1999, Clinton's approval rating returned to where it was before he was impeached, as did the Democratic Party's advantage in party identification and leaning.

Viewed in this light, it's probably a good thing that the impeachment process itself is wrapping up early in 2020 and not being dragged out to the election. Of course it's impossible to say if the rally-round-the-prez effect would sustain itself through a lengthy process, but by the time the general election comes along, how people felt during the impeachment will barely make a ripple in the electorate. What will matter then is what has happened in the weeks and months since then, including what more has come out and how all that party line protectionism looks in retrospect.

The future is not visible to anyone nor promised to anyone. Be wary of anyone who tells you what's going to happen. But I doubt Bolton and Parnas have finished dropping bombshells, nor do I think they were the only ones waiting in the wing.

That’s a lot of shoes waiting to drop between now and the first Tuesday after November 1st.

Thank you for reading.

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