State of the Union address: Rice U. expert available to discuss what world can expect from Biden’s big speech

Paul Brace. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

As President Joe Biden prepares for his first State of the Union address Tuesday, Rice University political scientist Paul Brace is available to discuss what to expect.

Paul Brace. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.

The address comes as the COVID-19 pandemic abates, the president’s approval numbers are dropping, inflation is rising and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine brings back long-dormant Cold War anxieties.

"All signs indicate the upcoming midterms will not go well for the Democrats, making the prospect of a return to more deeply divided government and gridlock for the remainder of Biden’s first term a likely prospect," Brace said. "Rarely has there been so much at stake during any president’s State of the Union address.

Brace expects Biden to call for unity both domestically and internationally.

"He will be unwavering in his commitment to Ukraine, admonishing domestic partisan equivocation and mobilizing the European Union and other global partners to back economic sanctions and other measures intended to undermine Putin’s aggression," Brace said.

When it comes to domestic issues, Brace expects Biden to highlight progress made on policies enacted to counter the health and economic challenges of the pandemic.

"In general, he will indicate these problems were preexisting, they have been addressed despite staunch partisan resistance and there are growing signs for optimism," he said.

Brace is the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science in Rice’s School of Social Sciences. He has published widely, primarily in the areas of state politics and judicial decision-making. He is the author of the book “State Government and Economic Performance,” co-author of the book “Follow the Leader: Opinion Polls and the Modern Presidents,” and co-editor of the books “Change and Continuity in American State and Local Government” and “The Presidency in American Politics.” He comments regularly on presidential politics.