CNN  — 

President Donald Trump, known for his troubled relationship with facts, was right on every count when he tweeted about the economy Friday morning.

“Just out: Real GDP for First Quarter grew 3.2% at an annual rate. This is far above expectations or projections. Importantly, inflation VERY LOW. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The US economy won’t quit. And Trump needs it to keep chugging along – so much the better for him if that’s in spite of the dour economists who keep hyperventilating about a slowdown.

Despite their warnings, the headline numbers – growth and jobs – remain strong, and Trump is more than happy to take credit and stick it to the experts. While countries in Europe and Asia are posting troubling gross domestic product reports, the US roars on, and the importance to Trump cannot be overstated.

He’ll need to own the record-setting economic expansion that has been underway for just about a decade. Especially if he’s going to defy his own low approval ratings and the inflamed Democratic voters who’d like to see him impeached for obstructing justice.

The experts and economists will add asterisks and “buts” to the strong preliminary 3.2% annualized GDP growth rate published Friday, pointing out it might be deceptive in the long run for a variety of reasons, and they’ll say they still see a slowdown on the horizon.

But for now, Trump has promised growth. And the economy has grown. Full stop.

He’s overseen two years of an economic expansion that began early in the Obama administration and yet he won election in 2016 because so many Rust Belt voters felt left behind.

Now, as Democrats vying to take on Trump in 2020 are talking about how they’ll address inequality, he’ll need to convince those same Rust Belt voters he’s delivered for them and that his permanent corporate tax cuts will help them too.

Take Erie, Pennsylvania. Trump narrowly won the area in 2016 but Democrats took it back in the 2018 midterms.

The macro indicators like GDP growth and job gains might not resonate there, but help-wanted signs do. That’s why Dick Crosby, who owns the Girard Dinor diner in the borough of Girard outside Erie, sees Trump as unbeatable in 2020.

“You can go to almost every business around here and you’ll see a sign in the window for help wanted. They can find people to work. So that tells you that something’s going good,” Crosby told CNN’s Miguel Marquez.

Others in Erie might not like the President, but that’s not going to keep them from voting for him.

“He’s not a guy that I would go and want to have a beer with, or go golfing with,” said Chris Trott, a 28-year-old two-time Barack Obama voter who chose Trump in 2016 and says he’ll vote for him again “because what he’s doing seems to be working.”

Trott is looking at the possibility of hiring the first full-time employee for the vehicle modification business, Erie Fleet Solutions, he opened four years ago.

That’s Trump’s path to a second victory no matter how many deceptive Facebook ads find their way from Russia into the political conversation. In a CNN poll conducted by SSRS in March, Trump’s approval rating was, as it has always been, below 50%.

But more than two-thirds of Americans feel really good about the economy, CNN Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta wrote at the time.

“Overall, 71% say the nation’s economy is in good shape, the highest share to say so since February 2001, and the best rating during Trump’s presidency by two points,” she wrote. “A majority give the President positive reviews for his handling of the nation’s economy (51% approve), and his overall approval rating has ticked up to 42% in the new poll. The 51% who say they disapprove of the President’s job performance overall represent the lowest share to do so in CNN polling since the start of his presidency.”

Nearly a quarter of voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country in exit polls conducted alongside the 2018 midterms, in which Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives. Republicans won them 63% to 34%. If Trump can get more voters to polls on that issue instead of health care, it will be a very good thing for him.

And Democrats clearly know it. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s entire argument for running is that he can rebuild the Democratic blue wall in the Rust Belt and take the country back to a pre-Trump mindset.

Notably, in announcing his candidacy with a web video, Biden didn’t talk about the economy. Instead, he spoke at length about Trump’s moral shortcomings and how it was unacceptable that the President “assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it” regarding a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Democrats, who lost the Rust Belt and the White House in 2016 because white working-class voters in the Rust Belt felt behind, got it back in 2018 because those same voters were afraid that maybe they’d lose their health care. But what will be their argument if those voters feel good about Trump’s economy?