With all the news going on, you can be forgiven if you forgot that tonight is President Trump’s State of the Union address (9:00pm EST). Trump has the stage to himself, along with the pomp and ceremony of a joint address to Congress, and a largely approving GOP audience. What can we expect?
I say #Winning.
Look for Trump to reference the end of three solid years of investigations, culminating in impeachment dud that exposed basically nothing the president didn’t admit he did, but claimed it was “perfect.” This is always how Trump has operated: He takes the most extreme position, occupies it thoroughly, and lets everyone else fight over the middle ground.
Trump’s approach is effective, because you end up with Rep. Adam Schiff claiming that if the Senate doesn’t remove him, “Trump could offer Alaska to the Russians in exchange for support in the next election, or decide to move to Mar-a-Lago permanently and let Jared Kushner run the country, delegating to him the decision whether to go to war.” What a ridiculous thing to say in front of the Senate.
I expect the president to make at least a passing reference to the excesses displayed at his impeachment trial. While I doubt he will use the words “witch hunt,” I think he will call for the nation to move on and get things done.
Following up on his Super Bowl ad, Trump may spend a few minutes talking about his achievements in prison reform, educational opportunities for minorities, and jobs. The theme may well be a minority-friendly, blue-collar, opportunity-filled America. Jobs, tax reform, and the recently-signed USMCA are major achievements that the president will tout as his own.
He will probably spend some time talking about Iran, the destruction of ISIS, the continuing fight against terrorists around the world, and American security. Then he’ll speak on Israel, to thunderous applause (and notable silence).
Finally, the president will likely ask for his wall to be funded. He will speak on gangs, opioids, health care, and how all these things are tied to immigration. Health care is still the number one issue in poll after poll. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump does his best to tie healthcare, drug prices, opioids, Mexican cartels, and immigration to his wall. These things, in reality, are related, if complex. Border security is one key to helping alleviate the problem, and it’s the one area in which Congress has consistently denied the president any funding.
Trump is very effective giving scripted, practiced speeches on teleprompter. He can even “approach eloquence” as Jonah Goldberg admitted. As he marches through his achievements, focusing on women, minorities, blue-collar workers, and other traditional Democrat themes, watch how he baits the stone-faced Democrats to either cheer the man they despise or sit quietly while he takes credit for their agenda. It’s delicious.
Essentially, tonight is going to be a 90-minute campaign ad for Trump, and there’s little for Democrats to shoot back, that they haven’t already shot. They believe Trump should be removed from office by the political tool of impeachment. They tried, they failed. Even Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who Democrats were counting on to join “their side,” bolted.
This speech will mark the final nail in this chapter of the #Resistance. Democrats will continue to investigate and subpoena witnesses, and try to draft more articles of impeachment, but I think it’s over, and Trump will take the opportunity to ensure it’s over.
Trump’s final SOTU in his first term will be worth watching. It will be forgotten, as always, in one new cycle. But the themes will endure, giving a peek into Trump’s main campaign thrust. I’ve said it before, and I will repeat: it’s Trump’s election to lose.