by Lucía Leal
US President Donald Trump tried on Tuesday to expand his voter base for the 2020 elections by turning his State of the Union speech into an ode to bipartisan cooperation, but will be difficult that message transforms the bitter political climate of the country.
For a president in perpetual campaign, the annual presidential speech before the US Congress was an opportunity to expand his audience beyond his fervent core of unconditional supporters, at a time when more and more Democrats are volunteering to snatch his reelection in 2020
"Trump knows he has to improve his popularity among moderates, independents and women if he wants to win re-election. Tonight was the beginning of a long campaign to achieve it", said to Efe political communication expert at the University of Michigan, Aaron Kall.
The speech was "the firing shot of exit of his campaign of reelection of 2020, very ‘presidential’ and destined to increase the support of his base to go from 35% (of voters who strongly support him) to a much larger fragment of the population", coincided Steffen Schmidt, professor of Politics at Iowa State University.
Standing in front of Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives and with whom he has a tense relationship, Trump called on the opposition to work with him to "break decades of political stalemate, overcome old divisions" and govern "not as two parties, but as a nation".
The president proposed certain measures that could achieve bipartisan support, such as increasing funds for research against HIV and childhood cancer, and even won a Democratic ovation when he stressed that there are now "more women working in Congress than ever before".
But although the president succeeded in received a stand ovation from emerging opposition figures, such as Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he also attacked them "directly" by rejecting socialism as a model of government, Schmidt reminded to Efe.
The most combative moment came with his warning that the "ridiculous partisan investigations" could stop the economic growth of the US, in clear reference to the investigation into the Russian plot of the prosecutor Robert Mueller and the investigations of the democratic opposition about the business of Trump.
"That phrase recalled the appeal of Richard Nixon (in his State of the Union address) in 1974", when he asked to "end" the investigation on the Watergate case just a few months before having to resign from the same issue, Kall explained.
In addition, his requests for collaboration were not accompanied by any new offer in the negotiations on immigration, ten days before a possible new partial closure of the Administration for lack of agreement regarding the financing of the wall that Trump wants to build on the border with Mexico.
"Was there a concession to the other side? No", summed up for Efe the expert in presidential speeches at the American University of Washington Robert Lehrman.
The expectations of Trump's speech among the Democrats were so low that the leader of that party in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, reacted to the speech even before he heard it.
"It seems that every year the president wakes up and discovers the desire for unity in the morning of the State of the Union, and then spends the remaining 364 days of the year dividing us and sowing a state of disunity", Schumer said in a speech at the plenary session of the Senate early on Tuesday.
Given that rarefied atmosphere in Congress and his refusal to give a twist to the issue of the wall, the big question is whether Trump's speech changed something among Americans, if he won any potential voter in the face of the coming year's election campaign.
"Trump will improve a bit on his popularity rating, and his base will like the stories he told" to illustrate his legislative proposals, predicted Lehrman.
"But will this improvement in the polls last until April? Will it come from moderate voters, from the center? It's hard to imagine", he concluded.