Trump’s SOTU address was a frightening preview of his red-baiting and fear-mongering 2020 campaign: columnist
US President Donald Trump speaks about the impeachment inquiry during a tour of the Flextronics computer manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

In a piece for The New Republic this Wednesday, Osita Nwanevu writes that the last few days have been favorable for President Trump -- the caucus debacle in Iowa, his likely acquittal in the Senate, his campaign ad-worthy State of the Union speech -- all things that are giving him more motivation to reinforce his overall narrative of "socialism and health care and socialism and xenophobia and socialism."

According to Nwanevu, the first half of Trump's SOTU address "was a rote recitation of massaged, manipulated, and outright invented statistics about the growth his administration did little to bring about. This was accompanied by still more brazen dishonesty about the right’s dedication to protecting Medicare and Social Security."

Without mentioning anyone by name, Trump took aim at the Democratic Party's socialists, "no doubt partly because the right is comfortable with red-baiting as a strategy against the Democratic Party as a whole." It a marked contrast to SOTU addresses by President Obama, who "spent considerable time trying to win over skeptics and critics with paeans to bipartisanship and centrist messaging on issues such as the deficit and national security." Nwanevu writes that Trump "uses these addresses to get the blood of his supporters flowing—and he often does it with invocations of blood."

And of course, there's Trump's patented demonization of immigrants as criminals, signaling that Republicans are giving another go at the blunt xenophobia they disseminated in past elections, hoping it works better this time.

"Whether they succeed in spite of themselves depends in part on whether the Democratic Party settles on a nominee willing to take a rhetorical approach against this president more compelling to the average voter than the viral GIFs and clap backs that now inevitably accompany these speeches," writes Nwanevu.

Read the full piece over at The New Republic.