Stacey Abrams likely to focus rebuttal on voting rights


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Border security will be front and center of President Trump’s State of the Union Address next Tuesday, says Northwestern University political scientist Jaime Dominguez, adding that Trump will likely make the case for why he will use his emergency executive powers to get the wall project funded. In addition to Dominguez, political scientist Alvin Tillery and Kellogg School of Management professor Ben Harris are available for comment.


Jaime Dominguez is an assistant professor of instruction in the department of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. His teaching and research focuses on race and ethnicity, immigration, urban politics, Latino politics and Chicago politics. He can be reached at (mobile) 312-375-4868 or


Quote from Professor Dominguez

“Border security will be front and center of Trump’s speech. He will make his case, once again, for the wall. And, in an effort to bypass the Congress, Trump will make the case for why he will use his emergency executive powers to get the wall project funded. This will invite a rebuke by Speaker Pelosi setting the stage for a possible threat by the president to shut down the government yet again.”


Alvin Tillery is an associate professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern. His research and teaching interests are in the fields of American politics and political theory. His research in American politics focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics and media and politics. He can be reached at (mobile) 574-514-5758 or


Quote from Professor Tillery

“The upcoming State of the Union Address is filled with abundant risks for President Trump. He enters the speech as the most embattled president since Richard Nixon. By most accounts he lost the government shutdown that he provoked over funding for his border wall project. His disapproval rating is approaching the dismal marks set by Richard Nixon during Watergate. And, the testimony of his own national security team before Congress completely eviscerated the worldview that he espouses on Twitter.


“A normal president would use this opportunity to course correct and strike a conciliatory tone with the Democratic House of Representatives and the nation that repudiated his leadership in the 2018 midterms and believes that his border wall is a folly. We can expect Mr. Trump to take just the opposite approach and renew his Twitter tag line of ‘Build the Wall and Crime will Fall.’ Mr. Trump has to take this approach because he has successfully sold this idea to that tiny sliver of the American public that are his base voters, and he desperately needs these people to keep believing if he is to avoid impeachment in the wake of the release of the pending Mueller Report. 


“On the other side of the equation, you can expect Stacey Abrams to focus her rebuttal to President Trump on the Democrat's reform package in the area of voting rights. The selection of Ms. Abrams to deliver the response also suggests to me that the Democrats are laying down a marker for her to launch a bid for Senate in the next electoral cycle.” ​ 

Ben Harris, a visiting associate professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, was formerly the chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden. He can be reached by contacting Molly Lynch at or 773-505-9719.


Quote from Professor Harris

“President Trump’s claims of a healthy, prosperous economy are somewhat overblown, obscuring real challenges faced by low- and middle-income workers -- including in particular some in areas and regions struggling with long-term economic stagnation. And while his Administration has generally failed to fix some of the structural problems facing the country, the massive $2 trillion tax cut has greatly exacerbated debt concerns and weakened our ability to respond to a recession, should one occur.” 


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