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Thursday, Joe plays big |  Pres

Thursday, Joe plays big | Pres

The US President's traditional State of the Union address will take place on Thursday, and quite frankly, I've been eagerly anticipating the event for a long time.


I'm not going to pretend that the fate of the November presidential election — and therefore the fate of the entire planet — is tied to this speech.

Apart from that…

With 250 days to go before the US presidential election, when questions about his leadership race and his age make headlines, the speech Joe Biden promises will be decisive.

Especially since Donald Trump has the wind in his ride. The US Supreme Court has upheld his eligibility for the November presidential election. And “Super Tuesday” should allow him to solidify his lead over his Republican rival, Nikki Haley.


Read our guide to “Super Tuesday.”

I discussed this with two academics who specialize in American politics.

They are of the same opinion.

For Joe Biden, “this speech is electorally important, especially in the face of criticism of his age,” underlines political scientist Karin Bremont of the University of Sherbrooke.

“Whether justified or not, these criticisms gain a lot of ground in the media and among activists,” he adds.

So the Union speech, this time will not be judged on its merits alone.

Also in shape.

“About Joe Biden's ability to not make mistakes, not to hesitate, not to stumble over words, and to appear energetic when he's on stage,” notes Julian Turrell. UQAM.

Joe Biden should definitely try to make Americans forget his age during this speech. If he succeeds, his mission will be largely accomplished.

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That doesn't mean the content of his message is secondary. “Because, obviously, this is the opportunity to lay the first milestones of the campaign speech,” the expert points out.

And what does he have to talk about?

In my opinion, the best summary of the challenge facing Joe Biden was given to us by Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter to Ronald Reagan.

“There are only three problems: America at home (illegal immigration), America in the world (Ukraine, Israel) and the economy,” he wrote. The Wall Street Journal.

“He will try to convince Americans that his administration has actually done a lot to improve living conditions,” predicts Karin Bremont.

It won't be that easy…

Inflation is slowing and the U.S. economy is doing well, but the mood among many voters remains gloomy.

According to the Gallup polling firm, only 20% of Americans said they were satisfied with “the state of the nation” last January. However, the University of Michigan recently reported that US consumer sentiment has been on the rise since late last year.

Immigration is also an unavoidable issue. This is why Joe Biden went to the Mexican border last Thursday. He urged Donald Trump to authorize Republican lawmakers in Washington to pass a bill on the issue.

  • Joe Biden speaks with U.S. Border Patrol agents on February 29 in Brownsville, Texas.

    Photo by Jim Watson, Agence France-Presse

    Joe Biden speaks with U.S. Border Patrol agents on February 29 in Brownsville, Texas.

  • That same day, former President Donald Trump was in Eagle Pass, Texas, with the state's Republican governor, Greg Abbott (in a wheelchair).

    Photo by Eric Kay, Associated Press

    That same day, former President Donald Trump was in Eagle Pass, Texas, with the state's Republican governor, Greg Abbott (in a wheelchair).

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He will certainly emphasize this call during his speech to the US Congress.

“Biden must absolutely demonstrate that he is doing more, that he is doing better, that he wants to slow the flow of immigrants,” summarizes Karine Bremont.

A Democratic president will try to appease Republicans who block aid to Ukraine.

In these two files, I think his strategy has two components. He will first want to put pressure on Donald Trump's most loyal allies who are preventing these two initiatives from moving forward.

At the same time, he will try to prove to potential voters that he is in good faith, but that his rivals are not.

In this case, Julien Tourreille thinks the president could “point” to Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the US Senate. The senator, who has announced his resignation, is not always on the airwaves like Donald Trump. Thus he is notorious for providing military aid to Ukraine.

Citing him as an example, the expert says the US president “can say we have people in the Republican Party who can work and that American democracy can work”.

But that's increasingly difficult today, largely because of Donald Trump, Joe Biden might argue.

And he wouldn't be wrong.

However, the fate of democracy and abortion rights remain two of the most promising issues for a Democratic president.

These complications allowed his party to save the floor during the 2022 mid-term elections, much to the surprise of many analysts.

Two issues that could contribute to Joe Biden's re-election in November.

But for that, above all, he must convince the majority of Americans, starting Thursday, that he is not too old to lead the country.


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