- - Sunday, July 30, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Donald Trump has shown a remarkable ability to survive snubs, slights and spirited assaults almost from the day he threw his hat in the ring, more than a year ago, and he seems to relish testing the depths of the loyalty of conservatives. His remarkable twitter campaign against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a particular favorite of nearly every conservative, might be the greatest test so far.

So far none of the things the chattering class obsesses over seems to have penetrated his base in the heartland. Turmoil at the White House, the war between Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci, feuding in the Trump family, and a new White House chief of staff, is merely white noise, a buzz of static easily ignored. It fascinates Washington, as if it foretells the end of world as we know it. But in Peoria, Pine Bluff and Pocatello, not so much.

What fascinates, and focuses attention in the heartland, are the economy, jobs, and the end of hard times. Jobs, mostly. On that score, the news for Mr. Trump is good, suggesting that the news might get even better. MarketWatch reported last week that “the economy stumbled out of the gate in 2017, but it’s picked up the pace midway through the year and appears to have settled into a steady trot.”

When Mr. Trump took office the economy was stagnant and flatlining. But in the months since, the economic numbers have moved steadily from red toward black. The most recent gross domestic product is projected to show growth shifting from 1.4 percent — when Barack Obama’s shadow was dark over the economy — to 2.8 percent. Still not great, but moving in the right direction.

Consumers know it, and confidence is soaring ahead of the raw numbers. Consumer confidence is at its highest point since 2000.

Some economy watchers predict spending will soon jump 3 percent, compared to 1 percent in the first quarter, and that usually means the GDP numbers will follow.

In April, CNBC News, suggesting five ways the Trump economy might boom in the coming months, predicted a frenzied pace of mergers and acquisitions, more international trade deals, and a surge in the stock market. “After six months,” a New York Daily News headline suggested last week, “look to the economy as a better gauge of confidence in Trump.”

The Dow Jones industrial average has risen by 17 percent over the last few months, the NASDAQ, by 18 percent and the S&P500, by 13 percent.

In fact, the stock market indicators show more growth in the first hundred days of the new presidential administration than for any president since 1989. The economy has added 863,000 jobs since January, 220,000 in the private sector in June alone, far surpassing expectations. Unemployment declined to its lowest level since 2001. That doesn’t suggest a White House about to collapse.

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