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Under Trump, the economy looks great. But can voters tune out the noise?

President Donald Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday night was more of a campaign speech, a recitation of accomplishments, than a traditional State of the Union message, with an agenda for the current session of Congress.

In actuality, Trump made a very strong case regarding the state of the country during his watch. It illustrated the political paradox that is Donald Trump.

Any other Republican running on Trump’s record would be standing on the edge of a probable landslide reelection victory this November. Democrats would be looking at a McGovern-like debacle.

Instead, the two most left-wing candidates the Democrats could possibly field — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — are running close with Trump in the polls. He will be lucky to eke out another Electoral College majority.

Sunny disposition shown in speech won’t last

Ronald Reagan was always more popular than his policies. When his reforms put a spring back into the step of the economy, he could run an upbeat reelection campaign about it being morning in America again. That’s, in part, because Reagan was an upbeat guy. The message rang true and felt authentic.

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 4, 2020.

Trump, in contrast, is considerably less popular than his policies. And it will be hard for him to run an upbeat campaign because, to put it mildly, he’s not an upbeat guy. The sunny, and effective, presentation of accomplishments in the State of the Union address is likely to have a short shelf life.

Trump’s best case is on the economy. To the extent Democrats acknowledge good news about the economy, they claim that it is merely a continuation of the recovery that began under President Obama. No credit due to Trump.

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