Apparently they’re still calling it the State of the Union address, despite a little technicality involving, you know, disunion. On Tuesday night, not long after the three-day government shutdown, Donald Trump will give the speech a go, to mark his first year in office.
In an effort to Take Back the Orange, our ginger rep, Joe Kennedy III, will be delivering the less watched Democratic response.
Trump will be facing a public that’s not exactly simpatico: His approval rating is historically low, according to the website FiveThirtyEight; George W. Bush had an 84 percent approval rating and Bill Clinton had 54 percent at the time of their first addresses, for example.
We know Trump will probably stir the pot — not the melting pot, of course, but the boiling, roiling, ever-toiling pot known as social media. Let’s see what shape the news takes, as, most likely, he takes on immigration, the economy, and his tax cut. Will he stick to his script, and inspire “Today — No Really, I Really Mean It, Today — Trump Became President” headlines? Will he spend too much time praising his first year amid all the “American carnage”? Will he shore up his base again or reach out to those not already behind him?
It will be interesting to see what happens with third-term Congress member Kennedy, who is fairly well-known in New England but perhaps less known — outside his family connections — by the rest of the country. Will his star continue to rise, after he took the spotlight last year for going after Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and the president’s response to white nationalists in Charlottesville?
Most important of all: Will he get a case of dry mouth, like Marco Rubio in 2013, and have to drink water?
Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman will deliver the Spanish-language response for Democrats. The State of the Union address will air on all the networks and cable-news channels Tuesday night, from CBS to C-SPAN, and it will stream online at their websites. It starts at 9.Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.