“The shadow of crisis has passed and the state of the union is strong.” Of course I’m going to take time out of my busy schedule to comment on the State of the Union Address. While many believe this was simply the president giving what he believes is the current state of the nation and setting forth his plan to achieve over the next two years, this speech was much much more than that. It was the president and leader of the Democratic Party, a party that did not want anything to do with him during the midterm elections just a few months ago, laying out the framework for the 2016 election. While President Obama will not be running, he is certainly putting his fingerprints all over it. With the 2008 election, there is no question what the number one issue was, the economy. Number two was obviously the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are not going to be issues in 2016 so the debate will obviously change. President Obama laid out the Democratic Party’s plan for 2016.
There is no question that income inequality will be a huge issue during 2016, as you heard from many of the president’s comments tonight. It is an issue that Republicans traditionally struggle with, being viewed as a party that typically sides with business interests. There is certainly reason to believe that the Democrats will really attack Republicans on some of these issues: making college more affordable, increasing capital gains tax, acting on climate change, closing Guantanamo Bay, expanding Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. These are important issues to Democrats and are popular for most people in this country that doesn’t have an “R” next to their name. With this State of the Union Address, President Obama has laid down the gauntlet and said to Republicans, “you want to oppose popular ideas like these? Tell America why.”
This was certainly a speech where the president was laying down a wish list of Democratic policies. It’s certainly going to get several members of Congress fired up, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It’s a list of policies that Hillary can certainly get behind and support. And it is a list of policies that Republicans typically have opposed. It’s clear that the 2016 election season has officially started. Now it’s time to see which players are throwing their hats in the rings.