The State of The Union (Part 1)


On February 7th 2023, President Joe Biden gave his second State of the Union address, facing a divided Congress controlled by increasingly radical republicans, American families plagued by inflation, fights over the debt ceiling, a crisis at the border, and much more. It is undoubtedly safe to say that Joe Biden faced a tough task to talk about all of these issues while considering a run for another term as president. 


While Biden may not be known as a well-versed or energetic speaker, he started off full of energy, encouraging bipartisanism and discussing his successes in front of the nation, including the Infrastructure Bill and the Respect for Marriage Act. He then shifted into a discussion of building back American pride and the economy, as well as focusing on the middle class for future economic development. Before mentioning the elephant in the room – the record levels of inflation – he touted the extremely low unemployment; his brief focus on inflation understated the devastating impact that said inflation has had. Biden also spent time discussing other controversies, such as the debt ceiling, infrastructure, affordable education, COVID, and gun violence. He finished off the speech by talking about democracy in America and his optimism for the future. 


Biden’s speech represented a shift in national politics towards populism, with an increased focus on the everyday American who might feel forgotten with the collapse of American manufacturing in the late 20th century. He encouraged an increase in domestic industrial capabilities and returning high paying jobs to blue-collar families throughout the country, who have been hit hard by COVID. Another populist move by the president was to attack big pharma, big oil, and billionaires, by claiming they are not paying their fair share in America. 


One thing that felt off-tone with Biden’s speech was his attack on the former president. When discussing the debt ceiling, he said that no president raised the debt as much as the previous administration. While this is true, this was not the appropriate time to attack the former president. Instead, Biden should have focused on explaining his accomplishments and addressing the issues important to Americans, rather than wasting energy defending his presidential position by attacking the previous one.  


Despite some drawbacks, Biden’s speech was a huge success, not only for Democrats, but for also Biden’s personal ambitions. Biden proved that he still has the energy and motivation to run again in 2024 and that he will continue (or at least say he will continue) to focus on bipartisanism. Biden’s speech did what it needed to do – it talked about his accomplishments, prominent issues, and the future, all successfully. This speech surprised me, as Biden is typically not the best public speaker. However, after the State of the Union, I would not be taken aback to see the Democratic Party unite around Joe Biden for the 2024 elections.