State of the Union Address: Unity or Emergency?


On Tuesday, Trump will throw down the gauntlet: Unity or Emergency?

Tuesday’s State of the Union speech comes at a time of deep partisan division over border wall after record-long shutdown.

The WSJ reports Trump to Call for Bipartisanship as He Threatens to Declare Emergency.

President Trump in Tuesday’s State of the Union is expected to issue a plea for national unity at a moment of deep partisan divisions, with the Democratic-controlled House and the White House at an impasse over spending priorities while Mr. Trump threatens to do an end-run around both chambers of Congress to pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Mrs. Pelosi will be sitting behind Mr. Trump, alongside Vice President Mike Pence, as the president delivers the address. A CNN poll released Monday found Mrs. Pelosi’s approval rating jumped eight points during the recent partial government shutdown to 42%, while polling has shown that Mr. Trump has borne the brunt of the blame for the shuttering of government offices for the longest period in U.S. history.

In a January Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 50% of respondents blamed him for the shutdown, compared with 37% who said Democrats were most responsible. The president’s overall job performance rating remained steady, with 43% approving and 54% disapproving of the job he is doing.

Minds Made Up

I cannot hope to persuade anyone to change their minds because minds are already made up.

Rather, I can state that Trump is pressing a debate he cannot win except in the courts, and that is a risky move.

I caution that just because someone is economically illiterate or foolish on many things does not imply the same person is foolish on "everything".

I recently went through that with Michael Bloomberg who I called a foolish billionaire for his statement that trying to legalize marijuana is "perhaps the stupidest thing that anybody has ever done"

Clearly, legalizing marijuana is not the stupidest thing that anybody has ever done.

Yet, I had two friends who stood up for Bloomberg.

I responded:

When you dramatically overstate your your case, you subject yourself to immense ridicule.

Like it or not, Pelosi has decent political instincts that need to be respected, even if you cannot stand her (and I can't).

Pelosi cannot possibly cave, nor can the Democrats. That leaves Trump with several choices.

Three Choices

  1. Declare a national emergency against the advice of most Senate Republicans
  2. Start a second government shutdown against the advice of all Senate Republicans
  3. Complete cave-in against the advice of some but not all Senate Republicans.

Those are the choices, all bad.

Of the two, the second is most problematic, followed by number three.

By process of elimination we arrive at number 1 followed by a big court battle.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (23)
No. 1-10

And number 1 is perfect. A wall will not be built in Trump's first term either because the court case drags on too long or the courts just shoot it down. But Trump will show he is fighting the good fight for his base. What's not to like?


For the longest time I could not stand Pelosi. Maybe its the enemy of my enemy is my friend logic or I've matured politically and my perceptions of the speaker of the house role has matured along side but I see Pelosi now as a very capable speaker who maintains strong control. Night and day on how she's leading vs Paul Ryan who despite my liking of Paul Ryan on some issues I see his tenure as a complete and utter failure.

As far as unity is concerned, Trump has made the call before but his idea of unity is that everyone must simply fall in line behind him. Reminds me of a line from Star Trek's "Piece of the Action" where Oxymx agrees with Spock about the need for unity on the planet but responds "Yeah, but I got to be the unity"

Re, Trump's wall, I'm not against better control of border crossings but Trump is pushing one solution and not even considering if there's a better way. In my opinion Trump not open to solving the problem with more drones and border control guards advances the argument that this is pure politics on Trump's part.

The argument that calling a national emergency would be unwise is stating the case mildly for two reasons, first hard to call something an emergency when it's not unexpected and of the moment and secondly if Trump gets away with it, he's handed a tool to the Democrats to bypass the will of Congress the next time we have a disagreement. Maybe it will happen with global warming?


Trump will not be president after 2020. He doesn’t even have time to get the courts to force the landowners off the land he needs to build the wall on. His legacy will be his empty schedule, at best, and a few million butthurt Trumplings.


Trump should just press play and then drop the mic.


"Number two, we do have to have control of our borders.

So I don't think that we can do this piecemeal. I think what we have to do is to come together and say, we're going to strengthen our borders -- and I'm going to be going to Mexico, I'm going to be working with President Calderón in Mexico to figure out how do we get control over the border that's become more violent because of the drug trade.

We have to combine that with cracking down on employers who are exploiting undocumented workers. (Applause.) We have to make sure that there's a verification system to find out whether somebody is legally able to work here or not.

You've got to -- and then you've got to say to the undocumented workers, you have to say, look, you've broken the law; you didn't come here the way you were supposed to. So this is not going to be a free ride. It's not going to be some instant amnesty. What's going to happen is you are going to pay a significant fine. You are going to learn English. (Applause.)

You are going to -- you are going to go to the back of the line so that you don't get ahead of somebody who was in Mexico City applying legally. (Applause.) But after you've done these things over a certain period of time you can earn your citizenship, so that it's not -- it's not something that is guaranteed or automatic. You've got to earn it.

Now, it only works though if you do all the pieces. I think the American people, they appreciate and believe in immigration. But they can't have a situation where you just have half a million people pouring over the border without any kind of mechanism to control it."


I won’t be able to watch the speech. I will catch up with the analysis on this blog tomorrow. As to what might be in it:

Unity. What a nice change that would be. The US desperately needs a President who brings people together instead of dividing them.

Not spouting divisiveness and hatred for others; surely he can manage that by simply not mentioning it.

Putting the Nation’s best interests ahead of the two political parties best interests; I would love to see that.

Using the speech to actually talk about the nation, instead of lauding himself; I’m not sure he can.

I would settle for a speech that isn’t full of lies. What’s the over/under on lies this time?