Hello and welcome to another great day in American politics.
It’s fair to say that Donald Trump is probably having a good week. Last night he had 80 minutes to present his case for a second term on primetime television with his State of the Union address, while Democrats were still struggling to publish the results of their first primary competition in Iowa on Monday.
Later today, Trump will be acquitted in his impeachment trial, and although several Republican senators admitted that his conduct to withhold military aid from Ukraine when he asked his president to investigate Democrat Joe Biden was inappropriate, perhaps only one He will vote to condemn him. Meanwhile, a Gallup survey has its 49% approval rating, the highest level for that survey since 2017.
Here is a summary:
As we speak, just over 70% of the votes are inside, and the former mayor of a small town, Pete Buttigieg, is slightly ahead of socialist senator Bernie Sanders, with his liberal rival Elizabeth Warren in third place and Joe Biden behind in fourth, a very worrying result for the former centrist vice president.
It is not clear exactly when the Iowa Democratic Party will release the rest of the results, following the confusion on Monday night when technical problems with an application caused its reporting system to collapse.
This seems like a good result for Buttigieg, who can say that he is a serious first level candidate. Now he will argue that Biden is not as eligible as he appears on paper and that the centrist Democratic establishment should join him around. But it has very little support among non-white voters and it is not clear if it will be able to get enough votes in the largest and most diverse states that will be presented in the coming weeks.
Sanders, who leads the popular vote, although not the delegate, will be disappointed if he does not finish first, although a strengthened Buttigieg could be good for him in the long term if the centrist vote ends up dividing three forms between Buttigieg, Biden and Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who will join the race next month. Bloomberg doubled its spending on television commercials in the wake of yesterday’s debacle, clearly feeling an opening.
The approach now moves to New Hampshire, where Sanders has a clear advantage. Tonight at 8 p.m. ET CNN will hold the first of two debates of the city-style candidates, the first with Biden, Warren and entrepreneurs Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.
You can see all the results of Iowa so far and see the rest of them eventually enter with our results tracker here.
The impeachment process
At approximately 4 p.m. ET today, Donald Trump will become the third president of the United States to be acquitted after a political trial.
Fading Democratic hopes, moderate Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have confirmed they will not vote to condemn Trump. That leaves only Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate, as the only possible vote against the president.
It is difficult to say at this time whether the trial trial has been a net gain or loss for Trump. Democrats may feel that if even half a percentage point ends up being removed from Trump’s vote count in November by political trial, that is a success. Trump and the Republicans will continue to argue that the impeachment process was an attempt by Democrats to revoke the democratic election of Americans in 2016 and eliminate their democratic election this year. The surveys so far have not been conclusive.
It is believed that Trump’s re-election strategy has to do with the lifting of his base against the Democrats, and his speech by the State of the Union last night seemed to encourage and illustrate the bitter divisions in American political life. “Every year he feels progressively worse and more hopelessly polarized than the previous one,” wrote my colleague David Smith. Trump promoted the strength of the economy and focused on immigration, abortion, weapons, the region and judicial appointments in a guaranteed way to delight the right and enrage the Democrats, with his usual disregard for the accuracy of the facts .
Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House, tore her copy of the speech while behind Trump in view of the cameras. Other Democrats left. Anti-gun activist Fred Guttenberg was expelled for disturbing. Trump awarded the presidential medal of freedom to right-talk show host Rush Limbaugh live at that time. Republicans chanted “four more years.”
“The state of our Union is stronger than ever,” Trump intoned. Everything about this event suggests otherwise.
We will cover all this and more throughout the day here.