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Dickinson College expert reacts to State of the Union Address

"No matter what he says, whether he plays to the base or tries to take a more conciliatory approach to the democrats, not much good or not much progress can come from simply what he says tonight,” said Carl Hamilton, a student at Dickinson College.

“I hope Trump knocks it out of the park. I really do, I hope the best for him. I hope he can find a way to unite America and give a great speech,” said Bryce Dunio, another Dickinson student.

Students at Dickinson College offering mixed feelings leading up to the president’s State of the Union Address.

The same could be said for the rest of America.

The country coming off a 35 day partial government shutdown, with border security an issue at the forefront.

But will the speech play a roll in how the country moves forward on that topic?

David O’Connell, an assistant professor of political science at Dickinson College, doesn’t think so.

“The opposition lawmakers, who would potentially be the group that Trump needed to persuade, to come over to support money for a barrier on the southern border, they’re already coming out with statements saying that they oppose the president’s remarks before he’s even given them,” said O'Connell.

The president’s speech touching on hot button issues, such as infrastructure, the economy, and paid family leave.

And Professor O’Connell says he thinks we saw two sides of the president- one that can appeal to both parties, and one that is similar to what we’ve seen throughout his presidency.

“When he talked about infrastructure and prescription drugs and childhood cancer, that’s the kind of agenda that could draw support from both parties. What in the middle of the speed you saw the type of president that Trump has actually become. Which were his remarks on immigration. No attempt at compromise in that section of the speech and I think that represents his actual governing style,” said O'Connell.

But, aside from learning what Trump has planned for the year ahead, Professor O’Connell also says it’s important to hear response from the democrats who already announced 2020 presidential runs.

“I think that looking how they react to the speech is more important than anything stacey abrams has to say as the official democratic response. Because these are the people who are the potential standard bearers for the democrats going into 2020, and as far off as that campaign may seem, it’s starting already,” said O'Connell.

Professor O’Connell adds the number of people tuning into political updates such as the State of the Union is declining more and more each year.

He says he thinks it would be unrealistic to expect that the speech will help Trump pick up support he lost during the shutdown.

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