Donald Trump was in typically rumbustious form when he fielded questions from the world’s press yesterday at the White House.
Despite the Republican Party having lost control of the House of Representatives in the US mid-term elections, the president hailed the results as a “great victory”.
Mr Trump might have been stretching credulity just a little with a typically emphatic declaration, but against a backdrop of scandal, it was far from the disaster that some pundits predicted or that his adversaries were hoping for.
He succeeded in the halting the ‘blue wave’ which Democrats had hoped to spread across America. In the Senate, Republicans retained control and there were some unexpected successes in the race for governorships in several states. Particularly significant were Republican triumphs in Florida and Ohio, two of the battleground states which must be won in any presidential election.
Mr Trump’s approval ratings might be lower than some of his predecessors but considering all the controversies that have dogged his administration over the last year, it perhaps could have been so much worse.
The campaigns also exposed many of the problems that continue to dog the Democrats, who will reflect that they should have done better. They are not blessed with politicians of high profile with Barack Obama, the former president, parachuted in to take a prominent campaign role, going against his reported instinct to stay in the background.
The results once again highlight how polarised American society continues to be. While the Democrats largely swept to victory in suburban America and relied on women, young and black voters and those with college degrees.
Mr Trump’s popularity with older, whiter, and more male voters remains very much intact. He will believe he has a very realistic chance of winning a second term as president in 2020.