After the conclusion of what had to be described as a rather bad week for the president — I think we can agree that the initiation of impeachment proceedings based on allegations that he solicited the assistance of foreign leaders for his re-election campaign qualifies as a bad week — you would think the president's poll numbers would be in the toilet.
You might even think that the Democrats had some luxury, some leeway, in terms of picking a nominee who could beat Trump. Okay, maybe not Bernie Sanders, but still ...
However, if the daily tracking polls are right — and I always believe polls that tell me what I don't want to hear — the president is doing rather well for a man on the verge of impeachment, and my fellow Democrats who think that only dinosaurs could vote for the man are living in Jurassic Park.
At the end of that week, a whopping 48 percent of all likely voters approved of the job that Donald Trump was doing as president. The heck with Ukraine and Iran and China. The heck with the crazy tweets and the stoking of the ugly partisan divide. Politically speaking, the president is doing just fine.
How can this be?
How can it be that a president who is strongly disapproved of — strongly — by nearly half the voters isn't tanking with the rest of the country?
Start with this: 3.5 percent.
That's the unemployment rate in America today. You can listen to cable television 24/7, but it's never going to be easy to beat peace (relatively speaking) and prosperity.
And this: The partisanship on the Democratic side, the relentless name-calling about not only the president but also his supporters, probably does more to bolster his base than to undermine it.
Not to mention this: No one is really beating up on the Democrats right now. What they are doing to one another is nothing — nothing — compared with what Trump and his supposedly independent friends will do to the Democratic nominee. How surprising would it be if the Ukrainians were the only leaders in the world being asked to dig dirt on the president's opponents? It's a measure of just how wide that net has been cast that they got to the good people of Ukraine, who managed to resist what must have been the very strong impulse of a new leader, to do Trump's bidding.
But it didn't help Joe Biden, and it didn't hurt Trump. Nothing hurts Trump, not enough to make his defeat the likely outcome of the next election.
Ukraine doesn't show up on the list of voters' concerns. If you ask them what Congress should be doing, impeachment comes after immigration.
Oh, the Democrats, whomever they nominate, will do their best to run an opposition campaign against Trump. But what more could be said of what the president has done wrong than you get from the media and the Democrats every day?
And if the economy stumbles, will the country turn to an untested Democrat who is being pilloried by untold billions spent convincing targeted voters of the risks he or she poses?
Congress is digging in on impeachment.
The country thinks Congress should be doing something on immigration.
Policy over politics. Deal with the kids at the border. Don't let Trump off the hook by using the impeachment proceedings to blame Democrats for not acting. You can see it all play out.
I think Nancy Pelosi may be the shrewdest speaker we've ever had, which is why she was rightly concerned about impeachment proceedings until the president made them inevitable. But this remains: Trump is not going to be easy to beat, and impeachment is not the issue with which to do it.
(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)