As Democrats and Republicans draw up their battle plans ahead of next year's Presidential election, Peter Divey discusses a resurgent Trump and an increasingly out of touch Democratic Party.

A recent poll gave President Trump a 52 per cent approval rating. A new high. The hiatus of the Government shutdown offset by a mostly on-target State of the Union speech. The Democrats are genuinely baffled. They saw Trump off over the wall and the shutdown was considered by many, on both sides, as a Democratic victory. Where is the political reward? The fight over the wall will drag on and the Democrats have succeeded in cramping the President and making it a defining issue. The Open Borders cry from some is emotional and it is too easy for the Republican side to say that the Democrats are favouring illegal immigrants and criminals over US citizens as well as legal immigrants. The sanctuary city is rapidly evolving into the sanctuary State. Walls are immoral and borders are punitive to the vulnerable.

Silly season is well and truly underway as jostling for the Democratic opponent to rival President Trump in 2020 begins in earnest. The riders and runners are a zany bunch so far even if many of the expected candidates have stepped forward. There seems to be a competition to see who can move furthest, quickest, to the Wonderland of the political Left. This so-called Progressivism may not be as universally popular as anticipated. Many have large painted targets that it will be all too easy for President Trump to attack. But first the Democrats will have to hack at each other as the field is whittled down.

Democrats are going to have to define policy. Trump hatred will only get you so far. Openings and opportunities aplenty. Bubbling under all of this are several huge issues. Democrats complain that President Trump is little more than the figurehead of a cult. Which is why the rise and rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez needs careful handling. She is as naive as President Trump is bombastic. Her Green New Deal has been ripped mercilessly, so much so that she now disavows it in its current form. But not before several Democratic Presidential candidates endorsed it.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been lying low recovering from lung surgery to remedy cancer. The procedure was apparently a complete success. Speculation has been crazy in its zeal. Republicans demanded proof of life and Democrats offered their own organs to ensure the Justice pulled through. I do not know how well 85 year old Justice Ginsburg now is, but clearly she is in frail health and it is increasingly likely that President Trump will be able to nominate a replacement. The Greatest Show on Earth may be approaching. It will make all the Kavanaugh nonsense look like amateur hour.

The Mueller probe may be winding down. Lots of smoke and mirrors though. Timing is the key, and maximum impact upon the 2020 Presidential vote with an embarrassing if ultimately empty report may be all that is left. The Senate Intelligence committee Chairman Richard Burr has said that no direct evidence of collusion with Russia has yet been found. President Trump is obviously guilty, but the burden of proof was just too high to reach. Mueller could not be looking harder, prodding and probing. When Mueller does end his investigation the Democrats will already be on maximum attack mode. The President's finances, his family, everything and anything will be explored. Discomfort and paralysis is the true aim.

The midterm results have boosted confidence. President Trump can be be beaten but the Democrats need to quickly adjust from a series of local fights to a Presidential manifesto. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House once again. She raises the most money from lobbyists and donors and distributes it to compliant politicians who tow the prescribed path. This is very much in conflict with the ideals of new incumbents and their voters. Nancy Pelosi says one thing and does another, the stock-in-trade of the politician. She is working hard to keep the very worst excesses of this new breed away from influence and the biggest levers of power. If she loses her gravitas the money dries up. She knows full well that defeating President Trump is going to require discipline and Party unity. Congress will be treading water for the next 18 months. Legislation will be out and pure politicking is in. She has made a good start with her resilience during the shutdown. Immigration, climate change, inequality. These policies are acceptable, massive profits and money can be made in green energy and wealth redistribution. If the sheep are afraid they will comply. 12 years to global disaster fosters control. Never mind that China and India are mining and burning more coal than ever before which renders the Paris Accord moot. Medicare For All, an NHS style system is being hamstrung, expectations downplayed. It is not what the donors want. The progressive voter can go whistle, as long as you remember to say anything to ensure you hoover up support at the ballot box.

President Trump is going to fan any flames and stand back and watch as the Democrats fight among themselves. All this political correctness and identity politics will have unintended consequences. 'These new rules apply to everyone' will be the message. Live by the sword, die by the sword. The rabid dog is out of the pound and impossible to control and predict. US debt is now north of 22 trillion dollars, something that President Trump should be attending to, except the Democrats have a spend until you bleed ideology. Tax the rich until the rich exist no more. Billionaires are evil. Compare and contrast insulates the President here. President Trump needs to keep goading the Democrats so that they reveal themselves. If the economy holds up and the wall can be finessed so as to portray Democrats as dangerously obstructive other tactics will succeed. Trump hatred is highly infectious and tends to destroy logic and judgement. The only risk is the emergence of a more centrist Democrat as the hyper-woke virtue signal and out-crazy each other into irrelevance. That candidate is yet to appear. The Democrats may not have such a candidate, more than that, President Trump anticipates that the Democrats will not tolerate any such timidity and convention. He expects to win the Presidency as the last loon left standing is put under the microscope.

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