I joined The News Agents podcast with Emily Maitlis on Wednesday to analyze the substance and significance of US President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Listen to Discussion from 22:58

I highlight the issues raised by Biden, both in the legislative achievements of the past two years and the numerous challenges — the economy, health care, immigration, women’s and LGBT rights, police reform, gun control — for the next two.

And I emphasize that the biggest threat is that the “white noise” from Republicans and Trumpists, some of which was on display on Tuesday night, will divert from an effective and decent approach to those issues.

There is a critical contest in America between the “white noise” and the reality of what people need economically and socially as well as politically.

By white noise, I mean the performance we had by some Republicans, a lot of them affiliated with Donald Trump, where there is no regard for the issues or substance. It is to whip up, through dog-whistle politics, these ideas that this is a “battle between normal and crazy”.

Paradoxically, I think it might be such a battle, but not the way those Republicans put it. It is a battle between the normal of good governance, competent governance, governance that provides security for people on a day-to-day basis or whether you give in to the crazy of soundbite headlines that will be whipped up by attack media.