Good news for President Trump today as he receives praise from a well-known Irish sports star, who obviously recognises greatness when he sees it:

This shouldn’t be a surprise. To us in Ireland, Conor McGregor might be often described in the media as “a well-known Irish sports star”, but his largest audience, by some distance, is in the United States. And American MMA fans tend to disproportionately come from demographics that are supportive of the President.

If McGregor gets a tweet back from Trump, as he presumably hopes, then that will further increase his already high levels of controversy, and as American Wrestling promoter Eric Bischoff said in his very entertaining book: Controversy creates cash.

It doesn’t come at a bad time for the President either, with his impeachment trial opening in the US Senate this morning. The outcome of that trial is, barring some amazing revelation, a foregone conclusion:

“The trial could, in theory, lead to Mr Trump being removed from office. But as a two-thirds majority of 67 votes in the 100-seat Senate is required to convict and oust Mr Trump, and there are only 47 Democrats in the Senate, the president is widely expected to be cleared.”

The impeachment is simply a way for Democrats in Congress to make the case on television to American voters that their president is a bad guy. His acquittal and defense will be a way for Trump and his supporters to make the case that the Democrats are the bad guys. Either way, Trump will face the voters in November as a sitting President.

And in that election, Trump is looking a lot stronger today than he did a year ago. In a piece on CNN (which is not Trump friendly), Chris Cizzila notes today:

“55% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing on the economy, while 40% disapprove. That +15 gap is by far the best Trump performs on a series of questions on how he is handling various aspects of the country. In fact, it is one of only two measures where more Americans approve than disapprove of the job he is doing. (Trump has a +3 margin on his handling of terrorism.)….

….It doesn’t take a political savant to see the path for Trump to a second term: the economy, the economy, the economy. The history of modern presidential elections suggests that the economy is always at the center of how voters make up their minds — and that when people feel as though things are going well (in their personal economics and in the country) they tend to want to stay the course.”

The other advantage Trump has, aside from the economy, is that the Democrats cannot seem to agree on an obvious nominee, with at least four candidates remaining in serious contention, and none of them polling over 25% in the race to win the primaries. A contentious primary is likely to mean that whoever does emerge as the nominee will have been damaged by attacks from their opponents, and more significantly, that they will have had to make a series of promises that pull them much further to the left than they might like to be, heading into the general election. That none of them looks like an obvious winner also suggests that, well, none of them are obvious winners. A candidate who can’t enthusiastically unite Democrats behind them at this stage is less likely to enthusiastically unite voters at large behind them later. It’s all a bit like the 2012 election, when Republicans struggled to find an opponent for Obama, and settled in the end on Mitt Romney. That didn’t work out – and Trump is much further ahead on the economy than Obama ever was.

Only a fool would predict the outcome of an election this far away from polling day, but Trump is very clearly in a much stronger position than some of our Irish media friends might like to think.