Michael Cohen Didn’t Hurt Trump

The Democrats are deep into the Wile E. Coyote stage of Trump Derangement Syndrome–this time we’re going to get him! I think they had high hopes for Michael Cohen’s televised testimony before the House Oversight Committee last week, even though cooler heads wondered whether it made sense to bring a man who pled guilty to lying to Congress back to lie some more. As it turned out, Cohen had nothing to offer beyond warmed-over smears and a Stormy Daniels encore. But, as I said on Australian television, everyone assumes President Trump had some sort of liaison with Ms. Daniels, and no one cares.

In the Rasmussen survey, the only regularly-published presidential approval poll, President Trump’s approval moves within a narrow range, never dropping below 40% and rarely topping 50%. Today he stands at 50% approval vs. 49% disapproval, a point better than just prior to Cohen’s testimony. So it would seem that Cohen was entirely ineffective.

It’s not that the ceaseless smears the Democrats have directed at President Trump haven’t had an effect. They have: by rights, he should rate at least ten points higher. The point, rather, is that the marginal impact of repeating the same smears over and over has dwindled to zero. Those who are going to believe them, already do.

The corollary of this, of course, is that it is hard for Trump to move the needle upward. Barring some surprise, the next major political development should be the release of Bob Mueller’s report. While it no doubt will be larded with anti-Trump verbiage, the report’s only significant conclusion will be that Mueller searched high and low for evidence of Russian collusion and couldn’t find any. That will give the president a boost, as many who don’t follow the news closely have taken seriously the possibility of collusion. But, given how firmly the battle lines have been drawn, that boost will probably be small.

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