Before President Donald Trump started his State of the Union address last night, he was greeted with chants of “four more years” by his fellow Republicans. 

And he delivered a speech that makes a second term seem pretty plausible. The president rightly focused on the strength of the economy and what his administration has done to continue the positive trend of job growth and record low unemployment — including for women and African Americans. 

“The state of our union is stronger than ever before,” Trump said. 

Trump gave his speech on the eve of his Senate acquittal in the impeachment trial. That vote took place Wednesday afternoon as expected.

While he didn’t mention his impeachment, Trump’s tone was triumphant. He smartly kept the speech optimistic, laying out his accomplishments and his vision for the next four years.  

The American people are taking notice. A Gallup poll released Tuesday found Trump’s job approval rating at 49% — the highest of his presidency. The increase comes from a jump in support from Republicans and independents. 

Gallup points to several factors that likely led to the boost: Trump’s decision to take out Iranian military general Qassem Soleimani; progress on foreign trade, including the recently signed United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal and trade negotiations with China; and Americans are more confident in the economy than they’ve been in two decades. 

“Sixty-three percent of Americans now approve of the way Trump is handling the economy, up six points from the prior reading in November,” Gallup states. 

That’s huge as Trump makes his case for reelection. And it’s in direct opposition to what Democrats are saying. 

In her response to the State of the Union, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used her high-profile, 10-minute address to claim that it doesn’t matter “what Trump says about the stock market” and that Americans are hurting. She focused on “kitchen table” issues, such as education, infrastructure repair and health care.

Trump also hit on those things. Yet their approaches to solving problems offer a stark contrast in governing. It’s what the 2020 election is all about. 

To Whitmer and Democratic presidential candidates, expanding government is the answer, from forcing equal pay, a higher minimum wage and further intervention in health care. 

Yet as Trump pointed out, by easing regulations on businesses and allowing individuals and companies to keep more of their earnings, everyone benefits.

There is no bigger kitchen table issue than being able to provide food for your family. And more individuals are doing just that — sans government assistance — under Trump’s economy.  

Joel Griffith, a research fellow for the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation, says the president’s focus on the economy, such as the number of individuals coming back to the labor force, income growth and low unemployment, was the right move.

“I think he really drew attention to what’s been one of the best stories in the past few years — the continued strong economy,” Griffith says. 

And while no president can take full credit for economic progress, Griffith says policies put in place under the Trump administration are directly linked to this extended period of growth.

“Opportunities are abounding, and that’s something to celebrate,” he says. 

Many conservative commentators and Republicans are hailing Trump’s speech as one of his best. He stuck to the script, refrained from mocking anyone and came out looking like the grown-up in the room — compared with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had a tantrum and ripped up his speech on national television following the address. 

“Trump masterfully reached out to Americans — black, brown and white, young and old, male and female — with a message that was largely non-ideological,” says Michigan-based GOP consultant Dennis Lennox. “If Trump can stick to these messages, we could see a landslide come November.”

Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques

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