How to steal the SOTU show in a few easy steps

If a 2020 presidential hopeful wanted to steal the show, silently walking out during the speech would be the way to do it

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listen during the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee William P. Barr on Jan. 15. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With at least a couple of dozen Democrats preparing to run for president in 2020, it will be hard for contenders to distinguish themselves in opposing President Donald Trump during and after the State of the Union speech. But there’s at least one surefire way to stand out from the pack.

Stand up and walk out.

I’m not saying that someone should walk out because of the merits of the president’s address or his actions in office. But if someone wanted to steal the show, silently walking out during the speech is the way to do it.

It’s not as offensive as South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst during President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009. But it is absolutely disruptive and would attract attention.

Watch: SOTU: A brief history

The video would be played back ad nauseam on at least two cable channels and the appetite to know how, why, and when the member decided to do it would be unquenchable. The interview requests would be nonstop.

Of course, the timing would be important.

It’s probably not a good idea to walk out during the president’s bipartisan call for infrastructure funding or when he touts job growth. But there will probably be at least one opportunity to make a stand in a way that makes sense for a Democrat.

Walking out is more likely to break through than staging an unofficial response after the speech, issuing a press release or putting out a strongly worded tweet.

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