Democrats are turning to Obama to save them from a midterm meltdown
With Joe Biden’s poll numbers stuck in the low 40s, the sitting president has largely was absent from the track in the final weeks of the campaign, opting for a mix of speeches from the Washington area and headline fundraisers. Into the void stepped his former leader, who reminded crowds over the weekend that he remains — far and away — his party’s most effective surrogate.
No one is more in demand than Obama. His team has been inundated with requests to speak, with Democrats begging him to cut short videos for the vote and congressional leaders leaning on him for fundraising titles with them. It harkened back to the days when, as president, Obama would issue endorsement lists that blew up to the point that some of the ads looked more like a phone book than a standard press release.
Obama hit a trio of battleground states in two days to rally the base for Senate and gubernatorial candidates in tough races. On Tuesday, he will be in Nevada to do the same, before going to Phoenix on Wednesday and then to Pennsylvania with Biden on the last weekend before Election Day.
Obama’s closing act is something of a role reversal for the former and current president compared to years past. It was often Biden and his everyman appeal that was most appreciated in some of the tightest races in the nation, especially those for the House. While Biden’s aides insist that he is largely resigned to the reality that his services are best suited for the moment in blue states – places like Oregon, California and Maryland, where he will appear for the second time – is publicly howled at the suggestion that campaigners want him to stay away from them.
Although he is the biggest attraction of the party and the main motivator of the base, there is an unequivocal fear that even he cannot prevent what can be an inevitable bloodbath on November 8. argument, even Obama has struggled in the past to translate his own popularity and success to others in his party. Democrats suffered heavy losses in both terms of Obama’s presidency.
However, most of the party agreed that there is no one they would rather have. And the public reaction has been quite positive. A single clip of Obama on the stump on Saturday accusing the Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson of protecting their wealthy associates while jeopardizing Social Security has had more than 12 million views. His portrayal of Herschel Walker as a football legend who has no business serving in the Senate led to news in Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock trying to stem the late rise of the Republican.
After stumping in Georgia for Warnock and Stacey Abrams, Obama video chatted with Rep. Karen Basswho is offering his support to the longtime Democrat who is being pummeled by $100 million in advertising from developer Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayoral race.
Doug Herman, a Democratic strategist who is helping lead Bass’s campaign, said Obama brings a voice of “pragmatism, hope and common sense that has been in short supply since he left office.”
“His endorsement is the most powerful of any Democrat running in a contested race,” Herman said of the former president. “That’s probably why he’s been involved in the closest races.”
It was no secret that Obama helped drive attention to these races. But it was his articulation of the other side that dominated the headlines. In Michigan, campaigning for Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Obama described a Republican Party absolutely fascinated by Donald Trump to the point of obsession.
“These days almost every Republican politician seems obsessed with two things: owning the ‘libs’ … and getting Donald Trump’s approval,” Obama said at the Detroit rally.
In Wisconsin, Obama sarcastically waxed nostalgic about the days when Trump would not let the birther conspiracy. and the idea that Obama was not eligible to be president. “Remember that was the craziest thing I was saying?” Obama said, he never mentioned Trump by name. “Now, it doesn’t even make the Top 10 list of crazy.”
And in Georgia he dismissed Walker – whose gridiron days as a Georgia Bulldog also evoke positive associations in the state – as “a celebrity who wants to be a politician”, before adding that he is “one of the best running backs of all time” he did not. it does not make him fit for public office. Obama joked that few would want his “slow, old skinny back” to be chased on the field by a defensive tackle.
He also spoke of bouts of fatalism that have swept through his party since it took power nearly two years ago and struggled to pass legislation with its slim majority – amid a slow economic recovery and threats to American institutions.
“I understand why people are anxious. I understand why you might be worried. I understand why it might be tempting just to tune in, to watch football or ‘Dancing with the Stars,'” Obama said. “But I’m here to tell you that tuning out is not an option. Desperation is not an option. The only way to make this economy fairer is for us, all of us, to fight for it. The only way to save democracy is if we, together, nurture and fight for it.”
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