Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Barack Obama's Return: Good or Bad for Democrats?
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 6 years ago on
September 17, 2018

Share

WASHINGTON — Nearly two years out of the White House, former President Barack Obama is facing another political test.

“This is perfect for us. It will energize Republicans as a reminder.” — Rep. Lou Barletta, the Republican challenging Casey for the Senate seat
To the delight of many Democrats, he’s stepped back into the fray that former presidents often try to avoid, campaigning for Democratic candidates ahead of the midterms and blasting the political culture of the Trump era. He attracted a large, adoring crowd this past week in Ohio and will be in Pennsylvania on Friday campaigning for Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.
But Obama’s return poses challenges for both the former president and his party. For one, Obama has struggled to turn admiration for him into votes when he’s not on the ballot. Democrats lost significant ground in the 2010 and 2014 midterms and his enthusiastic campaigning for Hillary Clinton didn’t carry her across the finish line in 2016. Perhaps more importantly, Obama’s public re-entry into politics could serve as a motivating factor for Republicans, potentially handing the GOP a gift at a time when they face an uphill battle to maintain their grip on Congress.
“This is perfect for us,” said Rep. Lou Barletta, the Republican challenging Casey for the Senate seat. “It will energize Republicans as a reminder.”
The former president will also “energize those blue-collar Democrats who worried about their jobs under Obama and went out to vote for Donald Trump,” Barletta added.
For their part, Democrats say an Obama visit is a huge boon. Massive crowds give candidates and the party a chance to organize, update contact lists, motivate new donors and boost volunteerism.

A Message About the Stakes of the Race

Michael Halle, the campaign manager for Richard Cordray, the Democratic candidate for governor in Ohio, said Obama’s visit sent a message about the stakes of the race, which could have implications for redistricting and voting rights in the future.

“Part of his success is being strategic in his approach to campaigning — coordinating with campaigns to maximize his impact and minimize any blowback.” — Scott Mulhauser noting Obama’s role in the Jones campaign
“First and foremost, it’s important for the people who live in Ohio,” he said. “But secondly, there are also significant national implications, and I think the (former) president weighed those in making the decision.”
An aide to the former president said Obama is aware that he does not have a strong record of aiding Democrats in midterm elections and that his presence can have the effect of galvanizing Republican voters. The aide said Obama would take a strategic approach to the midterm races and pointed to the light footprint that the former president kept earlier in his post-presidency. That’s when he recorded a get-out-the-vote robocall for Democrat Doug Jones, rather than travel to Alabama to appear with Jones ahead of his upset Senate victory. The aide cast the decision as an example of how Obama could still lend his voice in a part of the country where he is less popular.
The aide lacked authorization to discuss publicly Obama’s thinking and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Scott Mulhauser, who served as Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy chief of staff during the 2012 election, said Obama left office as the “most admired man in the country, and his popularity has only increased since.”
“Part of his success is being strategic in his approach to campaigning — coordinating with campaigns to maximize his impact and minimize any blowback, stumping where it makes sense and avoiding where it doesn’t,” Mulhauser said, noting Obama’s role in the Jones campaign. “He’s rightfully out on the trail for certain campaigns, taking a pass on others and recording calls and sending emails on behalf of those that want to use him and his popularity in a targeted manner.”

African-American Voters, College-Aged Voters and the Poor

In Pennsylvania, Obama returns to a state he carried twice but that swung to Trump in 2016. The state features critical contests for Congress and governor. Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia, where Obama will campaign, said that the former president’s presence will be important for his ability to motivate African-American voters, college-aged voters and the poor.

“I think that he can help Democrats, and I think it needs to be really targeted.” — Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia
“I think that he can help Democrats, and I think it needs to be really targeted,” Evans said.
Both African-Americans and college-age voters were crucial to Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012, and because Obama was the first black president, Evans said, “he can say some things to the African-American community that cannot be said by anybody else.”
While in Philadelphia, Obama will fundraise for Senate Democrats in general and in particular, Casey, who was among Obama’s earliest Senate backers when he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
While Obama’s full schedule is taking shape, aides say he is weighing how to best engage on behalf of Democratic candidates across the nation. Earlier this year, he endorsed more than 80 Democrats across more than a dozen states, and aides say a second wave of endorsements is expected this fall.
Brenda Boots, 42, who attended the Ohio rally, said Obama is a welcome presence and hoped he would inject the governor’s race with new life.
“How could he hurt?” she asked. “I don’t think he could hurt.”

DON'T MISS

Facing a Republican Revolt, House Speaker Johnson Pushes Ahead on US Aid for Ukraine

DON'T MISS

Giants Rally With 3 Runs in 7th to Beat NL-Worst Marlins

DON'T MISS

Ken Holtzman, MLB’s Winningest Jewish Pitcher Who Won 3 World Series With A’s, Dies at 78

DON'T MISS

Ex-Marine Gets 9 Years in Prison for Firebombing California Planned Parenthood Clinic

DON'T MISS

Fresno Coin Gallery Owner Reveals Why Gold & Silver Are Hot Investments

DON'T MISS

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

DON'T MISS

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

DON'T MISS

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

DON'T MISS

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

DON'T MISS

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

UP NEXT

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

UP NEXT

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

UP NEXT

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

UP NEXT

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

UP NEXT

Ship That Caused Bridge Collapse Had Apparent Electrical Issues While Still Docked, Source Says

UP NEXT

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

UP NEXT

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

Ex-Marine Gets 9 Years in Prison for Firebombing California Planned Parenthood Clinic

2 hours ago

Fresno Coin Gallery Owner Reveals Why Gold & Silver Are Hot Investments

3 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

17 hours ago

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

17 hours ago

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

17 hours ago

Which Fresno Restaurants Are Best? The Pros Picked These Places.

19 hours ago

Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial Gets Underway; 1st Day Ends Without Any Jurors Being Picked

19 hours ago

Fresno-Madera United Way Launches National Search for New CEO

Local /

20 hours ago

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

20 hours ago

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

20 hours ago

Facing a Republican Revolt, House Speaker Johnson Pushes Ahead on US Aid for Ukraine

WASHINGTON — Defiant and determined, House Speaker Mike Johnson pushed back Tuesday against mounting Republican anger over his proposed U.S....

2 mins ago

2 mins ago

Facing a Republican Revolt, House Speaker Johnson Pushes Ahead on US Aid for Ukraine

9 mins ago

Giants Rally With 3 Runs in 7th to Beat NL-Worst Marlins

51 mins ago

Ken Holtzman, MLB’s Winningest Jewish Pitcher Who Won 3 World Series With A’s, Dies at 78

2 hours ago

Ex-Marine Gets 9 Years in Prison for Firebombing California Planned Parenthood Clinic

3 hours ago

Fresno Coin Gallery Owner Reveals Why Gold & Silver Are Hot Investments

Fresno Monopoly Edition
17 hours ago

A Fresno Edition of Monopoly? That’s Capitalism at Work, Baby!

17 hours ago

California Officials Sue Huntington Beach Over Voter ID Law Passed at Polls

17 hours ago

Indiana Fever Receives No. 1 Overall Draft Pick Caitlin Clark

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend