State of the Union: Aftermath

Trump performed well at the SOTU, but the Democrats were his greatest ally.

State of the Union: Aftermath

by Jay Lorenz


By most accounts, President Trump’s State of the Union speech was a success. Since the address, his approval rating has soared to 49%, and polls show high approval numbers for the speech itself. Trump did well to present himself as willing to compromise, opening the speech by saying, “Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people.” Trump is trying to make a deal, but obstructionist, stubborn Democrats are in the way.

He also struck some nationalist chords to reach out to his base, hitting on themes of faith, family, and national pride:

– “In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is ‘in God we trust.‘”
– Americans “proudly stand for the national anthem.
– “Americans are Dreamers too.

Trump also did well in his immigration deal pitch. The compromise on DACA (amnesty for 1.8 million), Trump argued, more than justified the Democrats in agreeing to the immigration restrictions America desperately needs. The Democrats audibly booed his proposal to end massive chain migration, because this is their best source of sneaking new voters in easily.

However, I have to break with many others on the right who approved of the speech. They say Trump’s use of mostly minorities for his examples of “great Americans” and American workers is a necessary outreach to non-Whites and moderate Whites who would consider voting Trump, but want to seem tolerant. At the very least, they say, it was an awesome troll of the Democrats to have so many minorities. But, do we want great trolls or more White people? This was not necessary, and was not a good decision. The Black welder, Mexican-American border patrol officer, and non-White families of victims of illegal alien crime could have, and should have, been White Americans.

Trump had two options, both of which were superior to the non-White showcase that he chose. Option one: use a token minority or two. In this situation, no one bats an eye. Whites are adequately represented, and enough minorities are used to deflect charges of racism. Option two: use all White people. The average White person literally would not notice or think about this at all. The left would go hysterical over racism, which only helps our side.

Altogether it was a solid performance, but the biggest reason Trump looks good coming out of the State of the Union is the failure of his opposition.

The Congressional Black Caucus showed up dressed in African garb, looking out of place and un-American in the House chamber. The optics became even worse for the Democrats when its people of color sat while Trump delivered the line, “The state of our union is strong because our people are strong” to a standing ovation from nearly everyone else. Looking sulky and obstinate throughout the speech, the Democrats gave off the body language of childish obstructionists.

Luis Gutierrez was the Democrats’ star in this regard. After exiting the address early while Republicans chanted “USA!” Gutierrez released the following statement:

Even though I disagreed with almost everything he said, for Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered. Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job.

I am still hopeful, but I don’t see this Congress and this President coming to an agreement that prevents the deportation of the Dreamers. The White House agenda is to gut legal immigration in exchange for allowing some of the Dreamers to live here. For those of us who support legal immigration, and that’s most Democrats and many Republicans, it won’t fly. And the Dreamers themselves have said they do not want legal status if it comes at the expense of others who will suffer more as part of the bargain. The speech did nothing to bring the pro- and anti-immigrant sides closer together.

I was hoping for some sort of apology on Puerto Rico, but I heard nothing. Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this President sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings. If you look at how the President has treated Puerto Rico, you have to conclude that he just doesn’t care and probably thinks of Puerto Rico as just another shithole country.

I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land. I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced. I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American President, but my luck ran out.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez: “He does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings.”

It is clear that catty non-Whites delivering an anti-American message is not going to win for the Democrats. The actions of the Democrats’ POC were an optical disaster.

Perhaps sensing that this is the case, the Democrats trotted out someone who is just about as White and establishment as it gets for their official response, Joe Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy. He didn’t make matters any better. Kennedy sounded robotic, goofy, and weak as he tried to patch together the Democrats’ disparate coalition:

We should be thrilled to have squeaky Joey Kennedy as one of the faces of the Democratic Party. Non-Whites won’t be able to relate to him and normal Whites will be alienated by his rhetoric and insincerity. The dichotomy between the angry non-Whites at the address and the official response highlights the general strategic predicament the Democrats are in. They are sandwiched between a hostile anti-White left and a naive, liberal White left, not to mention the various victim subgroups in the coalition. Kennedy’s slogan on Tuesday was “we choose both,” but the Democrats can’t have it all. These groups are irreconcilable. As Trump capitalizes on their failures, the Democrats look to pick up the pieces up of their crumbling party.

Jay Lorenz
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