STAND down Russian hackers. Hoaxers, the media, witch hunters, never Trumpers and whistleblowers – don’t bother lifting a finger to help or hinder President Donald Trump’s re-election in November. Hold the commander-in-chief’s non-alcoholic beer, he’s got this one. How could he not after this week?

The first gift to Mr Trump’s campaign was the shambles of the Iowa caucuses. Take something that works perfectly well, make it more complex, and when it goes wrong, panic. As a metaphor for Democrat rule should the party win the presidency, the Republicans could not have asked for better. Mr Trump called Iowa “the sloppiest train wreck in history” a phrase that had its own mad genius. Those Democrats: they can’t even crash trains properly.

The second gift was his State of the Union speech, or rather the reaction to it by House Speaker and Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Mr Trump, with the economy booming, was able to hail a “great American comeback”. Ms Pelosi, seated behind the President in full view of the cameras, clearly hated every minute of it, and when the address was over ripped up a copy of his speech.

You could say, in the parlance of the playground, that Mr Trump “started it” when he refused to shake her hand. He could not bring himself to even make eye contact with her. All told, they made the warring pair in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf seem like loved up honeymooners.

It would have looked far better if Ms Pelosi had been the bigger person. The photograph of her standing, hand outstretched and being snubbed, would have been the image of the night. But footage of her impersonating a shredding machine makes the two of them look as bad as each other, confirming what most voters already think.

Mr Trump ended his speech in true, inspirational cat poster style, declaring that, “The sun is still rising, God’s grace is still shining, and my fellow Americans the best is yet to come.” If by the latter he meant his acquittal on impeachment charges, then, barring a billion to one upset, he will have been granted that wish last night.

One week, three strikes in his favour. If there are seven days that turn out to have decided the 2020 presidential election we may have just witnessed them.

Mr Trump was right to devote the largest section of his speech to the economy. It is not only what matters most to voters, whether they feel better or worse off than they were four years ago, it is also where his achievement has been greatest, or his luck strongest, depending on your point of view. In January, Gallup’s economic confidence index was at a 20-year high, with 62% of Americans polled describing the economy as excellent/good.

On many another measure the Trump presidency has been disastrous. In foreign policy he has been erratic and impulsive bordering on dangerous. Among his failures domestically he has singularly failed to bring the country together again after the poisonous election of 2016. Scandal has dogged him, his White House is a study in mismanagement and dysfunction, and to top it all, he has been impeached. By any measure, this should be a President packing his bags instead of looking forward to four more years.

It might not work out in his favour. His approval ratings have hit a personal best of 49% (Gallup), which is more than Barack Obama at this point in the re-election cycle but he is trailing Bill Clinton in 1996 and George Bush in 2004. Half the country is against him. But that is not enough on its own. What voters need is an alternative they can get behind, and that is where the Democrats are coming up woefully short.

After a ridiculously crowded original line-up, their field has been reduced to 11. Of those, the contenders who stand a chance can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Each has strengths and weaknesses, notably more of the former. As vice-president to Obama, experienced, and the closest politician to the centre, Joe Biden should be out in front. Instead he is currently placed fourth in the Iowa results, a worrying sign of what may lie ahead. Far from benefitting from allegations that Mr Trump was ready to withhold military aid to Ukraine if its president did not investigate Mr Biden’s dealings there, the former Veep has been left muddied.

Two other contenders, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, would be the most left-wing presidents the country has ever had. At the age of 78 to Mr Biden’s 77, Mr Sanders had a heart attack last October. Pete Buttigieg is in the lead coming out of Iowa. Young, married, served in Afghanistan, gay, he represents the modern face of America, but the very things that mark him out, his relative youth – he is 38 – sexuality and inexperience, could be turned against him in the heat of a campaign.

Finally, there is Mike Bloomberg. Another septuagenarian, the billionaire and former major of New York is biding his time and intends to enter the race in March.

He has lots of money, thousands of campaign staff, experience of building coalitions, support among the African-American and Hispanic communities, and has given a fortune to charities. But he is hardly known outside New York, and one rich white guy taking on another may not be enough of a shock to the system to unseat an incumbent.

With the nation so evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, victory will go to the candidate who can fire up their electoral base and get them out to the polling places. Mr Trump began the race for 2020 shortly after the 2016 contest had ended. He has not stopped campaigning. Whoever emerges as the Democrat candidate has a lot of catching up to do.

The Democrats should have been in a far stronger shape at this stage. Maybe come convention time a strong front runner will have emerged from the fray, but right now it is difficult to see any of them being able to beat this President.

No President should stroll back into the White House so easily, especially one as divisive as Mr Trump. On Democrat heads be it if he does.