Intro Topic: The 2021 State of the Union Address
The 2021 State of the Union Address was a momentous occasion, one that we’ll be talking about for years to come. President Joe Biden delivered a speech full of optimism, even in the face of open hostility, that provided a preview of his likely 2024 candidacy and a test run for his reelection announcement. In this blog post, we’ll explore six key takeaways from Biden’s speech and how it will shape his political future.
From the moment President Biden stepped up to the podium, it was clear that he was ready to take on his opponents head-on. Despite a room full of elected officials, Biden faced heckling from some House Republicans, to which he responded with a pointed riposte. Rather than shy away from the challenge, Biden leaned into it, demonstrating his energy and enthusiasm for engaging with people. His feisty display drew cheers from the White House and offered a glimpse of the energy Biden hopes to bring to the campaign trail.
The speech carried a strain of populism rooted in strengthening the middle class, a vintage Biden approach that was well-received by the audience. Biden set the record for the oldest president to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress, and he looked and sounded like someone who is able to keep doing the job. His delivery was energetic, even if he stumbled over a few of his prepared lines, and his jousting with House Republicans was the best preview to date of how he’ll approach his candidacy.
Biden also leaned into his record of working across the aisle, even as he faced heckles from Republicans. He acknowledged that over the first years of his presidency “we disagreed plenty” but appealed to his political rivals for cooperation. He noted that if they could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason they can’t work together in this Congress as well.
Biden hoped to address the national mood in his speech, one that remains downbeat even as the economy improves and the country attempts to return to normal amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He focused on highly specific issues – like eliminating “junk fees” for consumers or reining in tech companies – that the White House believes will resonate with Americans who aren’t necessarily attuned to the ins-and-outs of Washington. By all accounts, Biden has passed large, historic pieces of legislation that could have transformational effects on the US economy, yet polls show large majorities aren’t feeling them. Biden hoped to bridge that gap, to demonstrate he cares about what Americans care about and to identify the problems he’s looking to fix.
The 2021 State of the Union Address was a memorable and important event for President Biden and the nation. Biden’s speech provided a glimpse of the energy he hopes to bring to the campaign trail and a preview of his likely 2024 candidacy. He leaned into his record of working across the aisle and focused on highly specific issues that the White House believes will resonate with Americans. This blog post explored six key takeaways from Biden’s speech and how it will shape his political future.