Delivering the opposition response to the President’s State of the Union address is sometimes called the worst job in Washington. However, that is not stopping several Democrats from delivering their own opposition response.
The official Democratic responses will be delivered by Representative Joe Kennedy III (MA) and Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. Guzman, who was elected to the House of Delegates last year, was the first female Hispanic immigrant elected to the chamber. Kennedy will deliver the English language response while Guzman will deliver the Spanish language response. Kennedy’s response will be televised to a national audience on several networks following President Donald Trump’s address.
On BET, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), an outspoken critic of the President who will not be attending the address, will deliver a rebuttal to the speech. Representative Waters’s speech is part of the BET News special, “Angela Rye’s State of the Union,” hosted by Angela Rye.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will livestream his response to President Trump’s speech tonight at 10:45. The response will be broadcast through both Facebook Live and YouTube. In a video posted in anticipation, Sanders teased that he would discuss the “movement to oligarchy” and increasing levels of income inequality.
Finally, NowThis News is broadcasting the People’s SOTU Response hosted by activist Brittany Packnett. The response is slightly different in that it will have ten different activists discussing their own respective issue, from sexual harassment to the environment to health care. There will also be guest appearances by actors and politicians like Patton Oswalt, Debra Messing, and Jason Kander.
The numerous opposition responses are indicative of the way the internet has revolutionized communications, allowing anyone with a camera and internet connection to talk to the world. The various responses also show that there audiences categorized by more than just language preference. Rye and activists associated with the People’s Response have frequently said online that they think highly of Kennedy, but wish for someone more representative of their community (whether it be people of color and/or women) to speak as well. There is also Sanders’s response that will likely be more progressive than Kennedy’s. Finally, this is yet another indication of how resistance to the President has galvanized the liberals and that there is little political downside and significant opportunity for speaking up against him with many wanting to take him on rhetorically.