I cannot stomach more than 10 second of #SOTU. We have sat through this same speech from every president for decades now. It is the same recitation of liberal pieties and sanctimonious grandstanding from an utterly corrupt American empire that is destroying our civilization.— Will Westcott ???? (@westland_will) February 5, 2020
I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to catch President Donald Trump deliver the 2020 State of the Union Address when it aired on live television last night. Normally, I would have posted one of our live threads so that our readers can post their reactions to the speech as it happens.
While Trump was delivering his KAG speech to Congress, I was meeting up with a friend from our movement who happened to be in the area. We have known each other as activists since Barack Obama was president. I would say that it is probably a significant sign of the current discontent in our community that we spent most of our time tonight talking about how much worse life has gotten for people like us since Donald Trump won the 2016 election. There has been a massive spike in Antifa violence. Internet censorship has spiraled to unprecedented levels. The Department of Justice and FBI have effectively criminalized the White Nationalist movement. We have experienced the Trump era as a massive disappointment and rollback of our rights. We now feel as pessimistic and insecure in 2020 as we felt optimistic and confident in 2016. The Overton Window was supposed to widen by electing Donald Trump as president, NOT narrow on us. Now, we can’t gather in public places or speak as freely on the internet as we could before.
As I listened to the KAG speech on the way home, I didn’t hear a single word about political correctness or how much worse it has gotten since Donald Trump has been president. He didn’t have anything to say about the backlash that the Trump presidency has created or the negative impact it has had on his supporters. In the eyes of millions of Americans, Donald Trump is a symbol of “racism” and “white supremacy.” He is even called a White Nationalist by most of his Democratic rivals. From the perspective of actual White Nationalists, people like us are enduring all the costs of the Trump presidency without deriving ANY benefits from it. Instead, he boasted in his speech tonight about his record funding for HBCUs, how he has promoted one of the Tuskegee Airmen to the rank of brigadier general, how he has delivered criminal justice reform, how the black unemployment rate is at record lows, how he has created opportunity zones in Detroit, how he wants to pass a school choice plan for blacks stuck in public schools, etc.
Donald Trump wants you to know that the American economy has never been better because he signed a huge corporate tax cut, cut regulations and renegotiated and rebranded our existing free trade deals. As a result, the GDP and the stock market have gone up, 84% of which is owned by the wealthiest 10% of households. The unemployment rate is at a historic low because so many people are working in multiple part time gig economy jobs which offer no benefits or job security to make ends meet because they have no other choice. He didn’t have a word to say about the burden of student loan debt. He could have cited other statistics that tell a different story like how Millennials are committing suicide, postponing having children and buying their own homes. Life is fantastic for the first generation in history to be worse off than their parents.
The KAG speech gave Trump the opportunity to boast about his impressive foreign policy record: how he nearly plunged us into a war with Iran last month by assassinating General Qasem Soleimani, how he tried and failed to overthrow the government of Venezuela and install his puppet Juan Guaidó in power (he was present in the audience), his recent release of Jared Kushner’s Middle East Peace Plan which gives much of the West Bank to Israel or the fact that Trump actually hasn’t ended the “endless war” in Afghanistan in the fourth year of his presidency. He hasn’t pulled our troops out of Iraq either even after the Iraqi Parliament voted to kick us out. NATO is paying its fair share now like Saudi Arabia pays for our troops in the region. Trump isn’t opposed to “globalism.” He just gripes about how much the system costs. He thinks the United States shoulders too much of the burden of globalism in trade and foreign policy.
The most aggravating part of the KAG speech was about Trump’s immigration record which was the defining issue of his 2016 campaign. The wall has been reduced to refurbishing sections of the George W. Bush era fence. He has built all of three new miles of fence in the entire time that he has been in office. It’s true that border crossings have declined since last May after illegal immigration DOUBLED in FY 2019. Illegal immigration is back down to 2015 levels after soaring under Trump and he calls that a huge victory. He also touted Jared Kushner’s plan to reform legal immigration by INCREASING immigration and changing the composition of it by switching to a merit based system that brings in more high skilled workers and fewer peons. He lamented the fact that Americans like Kate Steinle whose killer walked free are still dying from illegal aliens committing crimes in sanctuary cities after he failed to do anything about it. Far from cutting legal immigration or deporting millions of illegal aliens, there are several million more of them here now. He has also promised to sign a DACA amnesty for the DREAMers.
Infrastructure? Never went anywhere. Health care? As unaffordable as ever. Entitlements? He promises to save those after vowing to slash them in all of his budgets. Donald Trump and the GOP Congress never got around to addressing lots of these issues in 2019 after spending the whole year on the fight against anti-Semitism which culminated in Trump’s executive order which banned anti-Semitism on college campuses in December. To be fair, there was never really a chance that anything would pass Congress in 2019 anyway because Paul Ryan’s Better Way agenda was so unpopular it cost the GOP the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms.
The KAG speech was a conservative speech. It was not a populist speech. The Donald Trump of the 2016 campaign who railed against a rigged system and who painted a picture of an American dystopia and who struck themes and used tropes which resonated with the Alt-Right is ancient history. Happy days are here again. America is great now. We have a Republican president who has pushed the standard conservative policy agenda in office. Evil socialists like Bernie and AOC are threatening to destroy our glorious economy and impose communism on the Boomers.
After watching this speech, I wish that I would have clapped for Jeb. We got the worst of both worlds in the 2016 election: the liability of the being caught at the forefront of the backlash against Donald Trump’s rhetoric and all for the sake of Jeb’s dismal policy agenda. At least if Jeb had won the 2016 election, we wouldn’t be dealing with most of the shit we are now.
I agree with the majority of Bernie’s response.
Of course, I could never vote for Bernie because of his radical position on immigration, but I now look at Donald Trump with different eyes in the 2020 election. I look at him and think that I am only voting for a senile Boomer Twitter personality. I am not voting for a nationalist or a populist president. I am voting for the Mike Pence presidency and a government run by conservatives which isn’t much of a choice at all and which I rejected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.