State of the Union Address: An Important “rendez vous” with the American People

Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

I recently read an article that was originally published in the New York Times on December 29, 1982. I was six years old back then, and more importantly, Ronald Reagan had just lost the mid-term elections. Today, we remember President Reagan as a great communicator and a president who won re-election in a landslide and who was so popular that, in 1988, he effectively delivered the presidency to his vice president at the time, George H. W. Bush. What stroke me when reading said article was that few predicted that back in December 1982. Pundits are quoted in the article as saying that the third year of a presidency is the most crucial and defining one and that this is particularly true for Reagan (which I agree with). “But privately, some acknowledge their concern that his presidency faces serious difficulties”, the article reads. “They concede not only the strain of recession but broad Congressional disillusion with the economic program, a perceptible shift in power form the White House toward Congress since November, and open splits and uneasiness among Republicans, especially while there is uncertainty whether Mr. Reagan intends to run in 1984”. WOW! Did you fully grasp what you just read? Back in December 1982, people were wondering if Reagan would even run for re-election. Little did they know back then that he would win in a landslide. Makes me wonder what we don’t know now about American politics 2020. On Tuesday, President Trump will deliver his State of the Union Address. These speeches are an important rendez-vous with the people. Bill Clinton, for example, used it strategically to re-define his presidency. Let’s see if Donald Trump can do the same.


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