State of the Union Speech: What Millennials Should Watch For


Why should Millennials give up an hour of time watching a talented orator lecture about the current state of the nation? The primary objective here is twofold. This speech gives Obama a chance to lay out his agenda. Through such stipulation, expect Obama to employ rhetorical appeals as a means of avoiding the more technical-legal  approach. Many are hoping for Obama to assert his position as alpha male on Capitol Hill through tearing down a disorganized GOP.

Immediately following Obama’s oration, Sen. Mark Rubio (R-Fla.) will give a rebuttal on behalf of the Republican Party. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will likewise offer a counter speech representing the Tea Party. Republican strategists learned quickly from 2008 and 2012: for the first time, Marco Rubio’s response will be broadcast in both English and Spanish.

The Republican Party is not exactly embodying coherence with this tactic. Marco Rubio, recently named by TIME as the Savior of the GOP, represents an effort to expand their voter demographics via becoming more inclusive. Rand Paul, a proponent of government as a determiner of moral values, fails to align with this message. Expect Paul to be more aggressive in his statements regarding Obama’s speech.

The two Republican senators are already emerging as the new faces of the GOP. If this does happen to be a preview of the 2016 GOP primaries, know that both men are keeping an extremely close eye on what they say. Playing the role of the juggler evidently is not a viable path to the Oval Office, as demonstrated by Mitt Romney. Nevertheless, the two senators must tread carefully.

As demonstrated in his inaugural address, expect Obama to sharpen his focus on policy. Specifically, progressives are hoping for a mention of climate change, civil rights, and immigration reform. The economy will deserve mention as well. Expect Obama to be flattering in presentation, but do not let this distract you from the issues themselves. Millennials are still awaiting acknowledgement on issues such as the over-inflated college tuition, opportunities for young people who do attend college, and the availability of desirable jobs. Further, money borrowed to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will fall on the laps of Millennials, so mention of that front may be of interest for young people as well.