The Political Play of the State of the Union Address

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On Tuesday February fourth President Donald J Trump delivered his third State of the Union address to the American people. In his address he talked not only about his accomplishments as president over the last three years, but also his ambitions for the years to come.

After being formally introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Trump was greeted with a roaring “four more years” chant by house and senate republicans. President Trump’s speech lasted an hour and 18 minutes and consisted of talking points on trade policy, healthcare, education, the military, the economy, infrastructure, criminal justice reform, and immigration. Trump’s speech was an ode to American exceptionalism. He declared that the economy was stronger than ever, and that unemployment was at an all-time low.

He boasted about how the military was rebuilt and that the border wall was being completed “as we speak”.  He denounced Medicare for all as a socialist policy and affirmed his commitment to preserving private healthcare and pre-existing conditions. He talked about renegotiating NAFTA, his successful negotiations with China on a new trade deal, and the revitalization of the manufacturing industry in America.

Of all his talking points however, the most moving parts of Trump’s speech was when he addressed his guests.  

President Trump’s guests for the night included Stephanie Davis from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Stephanie is a fourth grader who was denied the ability to choose the school she wanted to go to because of a School Choice legislation that was vetoed by Pennsylvania governor, Tom Wolf. Trump also had Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s interim President as a guest to show support and solidarity with Venezuela as they continue to work towards overthrowing the illegitimate Maduro regime.

Trump presented Rush Limbaugh, who has advanced lung cancer, with the Medal of Freedom, America’s highest honor for civilians. And he surprised Amy Williams and her two children with the return of her husband and their father, Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams, from his fourth military deployment.

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    Trump’s other guests included: Joshua Smith who lost his brother to suicide after being a victim of cyber bullying. Robin Schneider, whose daughter Ellie, was born at just 21 weeks and six days. Tony Rankins a military Vet who overcame a drug addiction that ruined his life. Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, a career border patrolman, and Carl and Marsh Mueller whose daughter was tortured and killed by ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

    Paul Morrow a United States Army Vet, Charles McGee a Tuskegee Airman and a World War II Vet, and his great grandson Iain Lanphier. Ivan Simonovis Venezuela’s capital city Chief of Police, Jody Jones whose brother was killed by an illegal immigrant, and Kelli and Gage Hake, who lost a husband and father serving in Iraq.  

    President Trump’s State of the Union guests

    Trump’s address was clearly targeted toward his party and supporters. As Trump begins campaigning for reelection in 2020, its important for him to reignite a fire under his base but also look to acquire support from other people groups. Trump made it a clear point and a foundational sentiment supported throughout his entire speech that he has and will, continue to keep every major campaign promise. It would appear as if given his comments on criminal justice reform, that no one thought it could be done but he did it, and his comments on the unemployment rate specifically in the black community, that Trump will be strategically targeting black and brown people for support in 2020.

    Trump wants the black vote because the black vote is what decides elections. President Trump has his highest approval ratings ever at 49 percent, higher than when we first got elected. And the democrats are in shambles after a botched Iowa caucus, and what looks to turn out to be a failed impeachment trial. Back in 2016 when Trump first hit the campaign trail he implored to the black community “what do you have to lose”, suggesting that while the democrats continually pander to the black community, they also continually fail at delivering in the form of policy. Given the current political climate and the tonality of his address, Trump is making his messaging clear, they [democrats] can’t get it done, but I can.

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