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Poll-crafted and progressive-approved

But the president’s words likely won’t woo the moderate voters his party desperately needs

President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday as Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look on. Associated Press/Photo by Saul Loeb (pool)

Poll-crafted and progressive-approved
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“Folks, if we are to advance liberty and justice, we need to secure our border and fix the immigration system,” said President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. It is no coincidence the president said this. After a year of polling that shows voters are deeply concerned about the security of our southern border, President Biden felt the need to give concerns about the border lip service. That was the point of his speech: Tell moderate voters what they want to hear. But the speech probably will not work.

“We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police,” the president said. “It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training. Resources and training they need to protect their communities.” Polls show a plurality of Americans are concerned Democrats want to defund the police.

The beginning of President Biden’s speech rallied the nation and bipartisan support over the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He made clear we would stand up to Russia, stand with Ukraine, and support the NATO alliance. He received a standing ovation from Republicans and Democrats in the House chamber. He immediately pivoted to attacking President Donald Trump’s 2018 tax cuts, claiming, inaccurately, those cuts benefited only the wealthiest Americans. Shifting from cheers to jeers in just a few sentences, Biden adjusted into a partisan laundry list clearly vetted by his pollsters.

As of this writing, Biden has a job approval rating in the low 40s. Moderate and independent voters are looking to the Republican Party to hold the president accountable. The only way for Democrats to woo these voters back is to address their concerns about the border, crime, and inflation. The problem, however, is that despite some poll-tested lines, the president spent most of his speech doubling down on an agenda Americans have rejected and the Senate has killed.

Biden never mentioned the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he previously called an “extraordinary success.” He did not mention it because voters witnessed the humiliation of the United States in Afghanistan and he did not want to remind them. Had a member of Congress not yelled out about the 13 soldiers who died in Kabul, press coverage probably would have never even noted the president’s failure to mention Afghanistan.

Americans will have a hard time embracing President Biden’s words when his actions and agenda do not address their actual concerns.

What President Biden did mention, however, shows he does not know how to woo the moderate voters he and his party so desperately need. “I’ve said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your president, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” the president noted after calling for passage of the progressive LGBTQ Equality Act, another bill thankfully dead in the Senate.

A growing number of moderate and independent parents are horrified by stories like Lia Thomas’, the unsuccessful male swimmer who now identifies as a female and is taking records and championships away from collegiate female swimmers. He keeps racking up wins for his coach and school and is treated as a female by the NCAA. Boys depriving girls of scholarships and opportunities does not play well with parents. The president is governing against those parents and against common sense.

“The constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade—standing precedent for half a century—is under attack as never before,” the president continued. “If you want to go forward—not backwards—we must protect access to healthcare. Preserve a woman’s right to choose. And continue to advance maternal healthcare for all Americans.” Killing unborn children has become a healthcare right, which makes Biden not a moderate but radically progressive. Transgender sports and abortion might connect with the women on The View, but the view from Middle America is far more critical of progressive culture war issues.

In truth, State of the Union addresses are rarely memorable. President Biden could have used his speech to reset, and he would have been well advised to have tried some poll-tested and voter-approved messages on border security and police funding. But Biden too dogmatically relied upon a progressive agenda and progressive values a growing number of Americans have rejected.

None of his words, however, really matter. The speech will be forgotten by the weekend. What will not be forgotten are the empty store shelves that were full under his predecessor, the high gas prices that were lower under his predecessor, and the high inflation that did not exist under his predecessor. Americans will have a hard time embracing President Biden’s words when his actions and agenda do not address their actual concerns.

Pledging to secure the border amounts to nothing without actual border security. Pledging to fund the police amounts to nothing when so many Democrats are trying to defund the police. Showing empathy as president does little to bring down prices. President Biden’s speech cannot reset a presidency that behaves as if Americans should be grateful for not having it worse while they remember it being better before he entered the White House. No speech is going to cure that problem.

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a lawyer by training, has been a political campaign manager and consultant, helped start one of the premiere grassroots conservative websites in the world, served as a political contributor for CNN and Fox News, and hosts the Erick Erickson Show broadcast nationwide.

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