SWA #3 State of The Union

Domestic Agenda Foreign Agenda
Budget for Congress Developing Countries: Women Business Development
Increased Border Security Funding U.S.M.C.A for N.A.F.T.A
Infrastructure Bill Reciprocal Trade Act
Lower pharmaceutical costs   Curtail Presence in the Middle East
Prohibit Late-Term Abortion
Childhood Cancer research funding


The speech given by president Trump had a plethora of words that affirmed his willingness and optimism for compromise within the current divided congress. His opening statements asserted a desire to govern as “one nation” not “two parties”. There were three key issues that the President specifically catered his speech towards compromise and collaboration. The obvious and principle one being on illegal immigration legislation, and the two subsequent being the infrastructure bill and late term abortions.

When talking about the duties of Congress relative to this issue, he says that “We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens”. This specific line is preceded by action that the President took in order to increase border security, without the direct consent of Congress. He built urgency before this phrase by explicating the reasons for his actions, and then turns to congress and speaks in the first person plural to address that all of the legislators in the room should feel the same urgency to act as he did. This particular issue, is more of an issue of collaboration than it is compromise. To elaborate, Trump specifically talked about the benefits of walls in decreasing illegal immigration, and further described specifics of the wall itself, and other necessary security precautions that he wishes Congress to take into consideration. His rhetoric in talking about these issues does not give off a sense of compromise, but rather the need for Congress to act in accordance with pressing security concerns. President Trump explained an issue, proposed his solutions for them, and then admonished Congress with the use of a single word: “We…”. He is aware of his inability to act in the scale that is necessary without them, and is more calling for cooperative action than compromise.

The two subsequent issues were more oriented towards compromise that border security was. When touching on his desire to better the infrastructure within the United States, President Trump said “This is not an option. This is a necessity”.  Before stating this, he noted that “I am willing to work with you on legislation that will deliver important infrastructure development…”. This leans towards compromise more so than border security because he didn’t propose much of a solution on his own, other then that the bill should support “cutting edge industries of the future.” This gives Congress more freedom by omission of specific infrastructural goals. The mention of late term abortion was a nice blend between the two. President Trump laid out the travesty of the bills passed in New York and Virginia that allow late term and post-birth abortion practices. He was clear on his position about the sanctity of lives, both “born and unborn”. After doing so, he asked Congress to “prohibit late term abortion who can feel pain in the mother’s womb”. This in and of itself is a kind of compromise. Upon recent scrutiny that the Republican party wants to repeal Roe v. Wade, this clarification for the prohibition of late term abortions where the baby can feel pain is a few steps lower then some more common party opinions on the subject. Within all three cases, President Trump’s rhetoric does show that he is optimistic to work with congress, and compromise if necessary.

President Trump definitely believes in a more powerful executive branch relative to the foundations laid out in the Constitution. He didn’t wait for Congress to give him permission to send troops to the southern border to protect it from the incoming caravan. His rhetoric showed no concern of if he overstepped his bounds. This is rather problematic because he constantly addresses the need for Congress to work with him, and believes that they are a powerful branch as well that can act as an impediment to the strong executive branch that he believes in. In terms of Congressional oversight, his strong position on the powers vested in both branches didn’t show a quarrel with Congress being too overreaching or powerful. While not in the speech, it is obvious that Trump has believed in a strong executive branch that can step around Congress if need be. His administration has utilized executive orders on many occasions and as such demonstrate his view of the role of the executive branch.

Lastly, the Democratic response to the S.O.T.U was surprisingly negative and barley touched on anything that the President actually talked about. The first complaint from Mrs. Abrams was the Presidents frail response to children going through active shooter drills in school. Education or school shootings were not mentioned in the address and it seems to drum up preliminary animosity to fuel the more rational critiques given later. Stacey Abrams said nothing about any of the good things that the economy has done for women or any of the minority groups that Trump substantiated in his address. She mentioned farmers and lower income families that rely on community and family and friends and the overall generosity of their immediate vicinity, which somehow coalesced into the idea that it should be the government’s job to fix these particular deficiencies in American life. This lead to a critique of the government shut down, which accused Trump of being the puppet master with no real substantiation as to why. It stretched from here to critiquing his border and immigration policies by repeating things that Trump said in his own speech. The only notable difference is that President Trump said “Legal Immigrants” enrich our communities and Mrs. Abrams said “Immigrants”. This shows a fundamental disagreement on what is good for the country and from the response given my Mrs. Abrams, there is little room to compromise on border security because there is no agreement on terms. If a policy, like Arizona’s SB 1070, aims to redress legitimate concerns on illegal immigration, then according to the rhetoric by Mrs. Abrams, this is discriminatory against immigrants. There seems to be little hope for compromise here. It is important to note that there was no response about MS 13 or the sex and drug trafficking that the President claimed would decrease with border security. Immigration was the principal issue of discontentment, and, at least in terms of rhetoric, shows little hope for compromise. Fortunately there was one important issue that makes compromise look possible. Both Trump’s address and Stacey Abram’s rebuttal voiced a desire to lower the cost and expand the availability of the pharmaceutical industry and general medical practice at large. This, unfortunately, is torn across a ideological line. Stacey Abrams argued that the way to do so is through the expansion of government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, while Trump encourages transparency and market incentivisation. Luckily, this ideological divide can bring about compromise. Both “solutions” are not mutually exclusive and it seems feasible to be able to utilize a little give and take in order to help combine these two methodologies of solving the same issue .

There are two commonalities between the Alaska state legislative agenda and Trump’s address: Criminals and the Middle Class. Trump passed the First Steps Act that freed Matthew Charles is a step in criminal justice reform. The Governor of Alaska, Mike Dunleavy, said in his inaugural address that he wanted a war on criminals. One way he has done this is through reforming Alaska Senate Bill 91, which deals with sexual assault, drug sentencing times, and judicial discretion. While in some cases he has strengthened drug offence laws, there have been similar sized relaxation for first and minor offences. The second similarity is the rise of the middle class. During the first two years of Trump’s presidency, there have been 600,000 more manufacturing jobs created. Majority of these jobs are for middle America. The state of Alaska has the impetus for such success as well, but it has yet to be achieved. Alaska is in a mild recession. Mike Dunleavy plans to lower taxes and reduce government spending in order to both balance the budget and incentivise the market to bring jobs back into the state.


3 thoughts on “SWA #3 State of The Union”

  1. Keegan,
    Seriously, well done! I enjoyed your essay, particularly the sections of Trump’s view of executive power and your criticisms of Abrams’ rebuttal. Your section on Trump’s call for unity and a non-partisan agenda is a great example that shows Trump is not an elitist fascist as some may believe. Those views on Trump (in my opinion) stem from his Immigration policy reform. His stance on immigration is pushing for collaboration from congress. Your interpretation on Trump merely side-stepping congress to address a national issue such as border security are spot on. His decision to move past congress and fund the wall is to expedite border security. If he compromised with congress, there would be complete inaction due to our divided government. I also agree that Abrams’ rebuttal associated very little with Trump’s announcements and agenda.

  2. Keegan,
    Great analysis here. You definitely showed me a different way to look at Trump’s State of the Union Address. But of course, I have some disagreements and also some opinions that align with yours. The first disagreement being that I also identified some language Trump used to lead on the act of willingness to work alongside Congress on many issues. Yet I must say that actions speak louder than words, and if that was truly the case, the President would not have thrown a hissy fit over not getting what he wanted and stripped thousands of American People of their paychecks. I must say that I do agree with one of your views on the Democratic Rebuttal given by Stacey Abrams, in that she did not touch directly on a lot of what President Trump said. Although I would of loved to hear fact checks on statistics and all of that good stuff, I still do understand why she brought other issues which are on the Democratic agenda to the platform. Overall a great dissection that I loved reading. Go Dems!;)

  3. Hey Keegan,
    Your essay was very good! Your analysis on Trump’s speech was very well thought out and definitely pointed out and addressed the flaws and strong points that he had in the speech. One thing that I would like to point out is your perspective on Stacey Abrams’s response. One of the first things you wrote was about how suprisingly negative her speech was, but considering that she represents the democratic party and most of Trump’s claims on his agenda was to appeal to a republican’s ear, in a way it had to be negative because it was in a republicans favor and not the democratic party. Trump did state the status of how women are on the rise within politics, and how they hold more seats now in the house. But in a way he turned it into a selfish act by almost saying that the only reason is because of him. I just would like to say Ms. Abrams did a very well job appealing to the crowd that Trump does not care to address. One thing that I would like to point out is how she ended with a compromising claim. She ended with she does not want the president to fail because that leads to America failing. So this is a sign of compromise, Trump just has to handle is politics way better then he has.

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