When President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday, he isn't just setting out his own agenda. He's also delivering an opening salvo in the yearlong fight for control of Congress.
Although not explicitly political, the speech will frame an economic argument that Democrats hope will appeal to voters across the country. Obama has turned his attention in the second term to what government can do to increase social mobility and reduce income inequality.
With lower approval ratings than earlier in his presidency, Obama can only help Democrats so much as they campaign. But he can cast a spotlight on what Democrats want to do about unemployment, education and wages.
Polling shows those issues resonate even in some conservative-leaning states where Democrats are defending seats.