In his first State of the Union speech, President TrumpDonald John TrumpStormy Daniels on statement denying Trump affair: ‘I do not know where it came from’ Five Takeaways from Trump’s State of the Union Van Jones: Trump ‘selling sweet-tasting candy with poison in it’ MORE did exactly what he needed to: He gave a magnificent speech that was nothing short of a home run. At some point the rest of the world is going to realize Trump can give these speeches and hit them out of the park.
He took his victory lap, touting the success of the recent tax bill, talking about the three million Americans who have received bonuses from almost 300 companies, and all of that in roughly the first month of the tax bill being enacted.
In response to this, and to most of Trump’s speech, Democrats looked like sullen little kids being chastised by the adult in the room. They looked thoroughly truculent last night, sneering and scowling at the idea of American workers getting more money in their pockets.
While I don’t think American taxpayers are getting enough of their money back, and I’ve expressed my concerns about the tax plan, the tax reform is working and it is absolutely a start in the right direction.
At some point, the Democratic Party is going to have to realize that it abandoned the working class to champion the “illegals” and their pet projects of global warming and transgender rights. While the virtue-signaling and misplaced feelings of moral righteousness might keep them warm at night, I’m not entirely sure all of that is a path to future political victory.
While his enemies on the left insist that Trump is divisive, he used inclusive, unifying words last night, repeatedly using the term “Together we can” and the word “we” 129 times. (Juxtapose that to President Obama’s repeated use of “I” in his speeches.)
Trump’s “Americanism” was on display throughout the night, highlighting continually that all Americans, regardless of race or party, are benefitting from his policies. While all presidents use “props” of everyday American citizens sitting in their box, Trump’s use of their stories to illustrate his policies was both subtle and powerful.
Who can forget the image of the weeping parents of the girls killed by MS-13, or the North Korean triumphantly holding his crutches over his head? Or the Albuquerque policeman and his wife who adopted the child of an opioid addict and named her Hope?
To the seated and sullen Democrats, Trump offered two major opportunities for bipartisanship with immigration reform and infrastructure. While his idea of 1.8 million Dreamers getting citizenship gives his base pause, there is little reason to believe anything will actually happen on immigration reform.
Less than five years ago all 54 Democrats in the Senate voted for doubling the length of a new border fence with Mexico, ending the diversity visa lottery, stopping family members of U.S. citizens from coming here on reunification visas, and even creating “merit-based” visas. It’s doubtful the Democrat leadership of today will let chain migration go: They see it as their path to generations of political dominance.
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Yet, interestingly, Trump has a chance on that very issue to divide the Democrat base. In a recent Harvard-Harris poll, 72 percent of Democrats think our immigration system should be one that is more skills-based (merit-based) than one based on family ties.
And, while it would appear that infrastructure is one policy item in 2018 that has a chance of succeeding, I’m not convinced there will be any movement on it. It will all depend on how the 10 “red state” Democrats up for re-election in 2018 feel about their chances in November.
If they feel compelled for electoral reasons to strike some grand bargain on infrastructure, a deal could very well happen. But if they have no concerns about re-election, look for more obstruction and denying Trump any policy success in 2018.
Which is a shame. Despite whatever his naysayers want to believe, Trump’s vision for the future of America is one of hope, that we can have more jobs for American workers, that we can have a booming economy and bold, beautiful new infrastructure, and that we can be safe and secure.
He offered a hand to the Democrats last night that, if they want to join him in doing all of these things for the good of the American people, they are welcome to be a part of it. But if the Democrats continue to obstruct, and Trump’s economy keeps soaring and his approval rating rises over 50 percent, I suspect the American people will reward him with Republican majorities in 2018 and a return to the White House in 2020.
Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter: @nedryun.
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