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President Trump at a New Hampshire rally on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump is capitalizing on three years of political, economic and global trends that have exceeded forecasts. He has also benefited from a run of extraordinary good luck.

Why it matters: Trump’s top advisers privately marvel at how he flirts with disaster only to catch a big break, whether it's the Iranians botching their response to his military attack or Democrats embarrassing themselves in Iowa on impeachment eve.

Trump started the year by killing Iran's top military leader, Qasem Soleimani, in a move — resisted by previous presidents — that imperiled U.S. troops in the Middle East and could have provoked war with Iran.

  • Instead, Iranians shot down a civilian airliner and lied about it clumsily, undercutting the regime at home and on the world stage.
  • On Feb. 6, Trump said the U.S. had killed Qassim al-Rimi, the al-Qaeda leader in Yemen.
  • Trump signed the "Phase 1" trade deal with China, and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that replaces NAFTA.
  • The economic and employment recovery, which the Obama administration set in motion after the 2008 collapse, built enough steam to allow Trump to build on the gains and take credit.
  • Democrats are on the defensive after Trump's impeachment acquittal and Iowa debacle.
  • A democratic socialist — Sen. Bernie Sanders — is surging in the race, causing the establishment to flip out. The fracturing field could mean a long fight that would put the eventual nominee in an even deeper hole against the incumbent's machine.
  • Some economists think that post-coronavirus, a recovery wave will push an economic surge closer to the election.

The bottom line: Trump is enjoying the same lucky breaks in politics that he enjoyed in birth and business.

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Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency amid pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S. where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.