This Tuesday, President Donald Trump will travel to the United States Capitol and deliver his first State of the Union Address from the well of the House of Representatives. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan will sit behind him during the address and stand, clap and nod as appropriate. This will be a historic address. It will combine Trump's ability to engage, entertain and connect with his audience, the American people, with his ability to create a vision of an even brighter future of Americans.
With the passage of major tax legislation behind him, and the government back open, Trump has much good news to share. The State of our Union is good.
During his first year, Trump ended the delay for Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, and he appointed a raft of conservative federal judges, (most importantly, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch). Government regulations have been cut, leading to business optimism and economic growth. On the foreign policy side, Trump has reoriented our foreign policy stance from everyone else first, to America first. This reorientation has lead to the United States' departure from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He announced that he will move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Congress passed and he signed a massive tax reform bill, which included a repeal of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The stock market is continually making record gains. Economic growth is up and unemployment is down.
The labor participation rate, which measures the portion of the labor force that is working, has held steady since Trump was elected, at 62.7 percent. (It had fallen from 65.7 percent at the beginning of the Obama administration.) With a tightening of the labor force (lower unemployment) and more economic growth, people who have grown discouraged, or are no longer interested in working, will gravitate back into the job market.
The State of the Union appears poised to continue to get better.
While the news organization and pundits are discussing last week's political activities, actions, winners and losers, dozens of people are locked away, carefully crafting language to present to the president for him to include in the State of the Union speech.
A few things to think about. This is President Trump's speech to the country he loves. Everything that is included will be included because Trump wants it included. His voice, his message, his tone and tenor will be evident throughout the speech. He is our president and he will be delivering his State of the Union.
The United States Constitution mandates that the president "give to the Congress information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." But his primary audience will be the American people. Politicians and pundits will attempt to dissect and parse its meaning -- but they are not the audience and they will misinterpret much of what he says.
Trump will list the many "wins" we have had as a country since his election, election promises met. He will then shift our vision to the future. Our future together as a country. Most importantly, he will describe how we can shape and improve our future when we work together.
Those on the other side of the aisle will, as usual, attempt to divert or distract from the positive momentum generated since the election. This is the only way that they can win the mid-term elections, by appealing to emotions and sentiment rather than by discussing policy and progress, or even potential progress. They will fight with emotion.
What's going to become more evident over time will be the disconnect between the media focus and the everyday lives of average Americans (which are very different from the everyday lives of politicians or political pundits).
As Trump talks about the American successes since inauguration, he will include tributes and stories of average Americans and guests in the gallery or at home whom he will recognize. Their real-life stories will reflect the impact of the changes people have experienced in their lives since Trump took office, and more importantly how their perspective of the future has changed.
Like all great communicators, Trump knows that it's not the numbers and the statistics that drive home his points, but how his words and his delivery make people feel. These emotions will coalesce into long-term recollections going forward. It will be must watch TV.