Former President Barack Obama (D-Illinois) could take the dramatic step of intervening in the Democratic presidential primary.
Obama could even break with modern presidential traditions by endorsing a primary candidate. In fact, it has been over a century since a former president took an active part in a presidential election. For the record, the last ex-President to get involved in a presidential election was Obama’s hero Theodore Roosevelt (R-New York) in 1912.
Since then, ex-Presidents have maintained an aloof silence about elections. George W. Bush (R-Texas); for instance; refused to endorse his own brother, or publicly comment on the controversial 2016 elections. Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas) only got involved in the same election because his wife was a candidate.
What will Obama do?
In contrast, Obama appears to be intervening in the primary. For example, The Hill claims, Obama met with Democratic donors in California and told them to “Chill Out.”
In particular, Obama told donors to stand behind whoever the candidate is. Unfortunately, The Hill does not identify the donors Obama lectured.
Furthermore, there is widespread media speculation that Obama could soon take a public stand on the primary. I guess, Obama could endorse a candidate, or make a statement.
Any public action by Obama will be a dramatic break with tradition. It will also mark the end of Obama’s self-imposed exile from politics. Since leaving office, Obama has maintained a low profile and done little besides make public appearances.
Why Would Obama get involved in Presidential Campaign?
I think there are a few reasons why Obama could intervene in the Democratic primaries. Those reasons include:
Obama Fears Woke Culture
First, the current direction of Democratic politics; displeases Obama. In particular, “woke culture” and political correctness scare Obama.
In fact, Obama made a dramatic public statement against the “woke culture” at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago on 30 October 2019, USA Today reports.
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly,” Obama said. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and share certain things with you.”
My guess is that Obama fears woke culture is taking control of the Democratic Party and making Democrats unelectable. In particular, Obama could fear the woke culture will drive away white, middle class, male, religious, and rural voters the Democrats need to win next year.
Disturbingly, some Democratic presidential candidates embrace woke culture. For instance, U. S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts) refuses to go on Fox News; and branded the channel a “hate for profit racket,” Politico reports. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) wants to violate the First Amendment by suspending President Donald J. Trump’s (R-New York) Twitter account, Vox reveals.
Notably, another candidate; Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), claims she is being attacked because she went on Fox News. Gabbard made the allegation in a recent chat with our friend Joe Rogan.
I think Obama fears such intolerance will hurt Democrats at the polls. Hence, the former President wants to fight it.
Obama Does not Want Joe Biden to be His Legacy
Second, I think Obama is afraid that former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) is hijacking his legacy.
To elaborate, Obama could fear they will blame him when Biden loses either the primary or the general election. Personally, I think Obama believes Biden cannot beat Trump.
Furthermore, Biden’s presidential campaign is becoming a cavalcade of gaffes, blunders, and errors. Time even posted list of “Top 10 Joe Biden Gaffes” on line. Highlights of the Biden Tour of blunders include the incomprehensible slogan “No Malarkey,” a bizarre campaign bus, and Biden biting his wife’s finger at a campaign stop, The Daily Caller notes.
Bizarrely, Biden cannot spell his own name correctly. The lettering on his campaign bus spells; “Jo” not Joe.
I think Obama is becoming scared because the media often link him to Biden. In addition, some African American leaders support Biden because he was Obama’s sidekick.
I suspect Obama wants to avoid association with Biden before the former vice president becomes a national embarrassment. Hence, Obama does not want Joe Biden to be his legacy.
Obama Wants to Beat Trump
Finally, Obama despises President Donald J. Trump (R-New York). Furthermore, Obama wants to deny Trump a second term.
Obama dislikes the Donald because Trump has disrespected him, by ignoring his predecessor, attacking Barrack in interviews, and even insulting Obama in Tweets. Moreover, Trump has dismantled many of Obama’s key policies and programs.
Hence, Obama wants a strong Democratic Party unified behind an effective candidate. Yet Obama does not see Democrats uniting or a strong candidate.
In particular, Obama fears that his imagined heir Biden is incompetent and divisive. Additionally, Obama could fear the Democrats are moving too far to the Left to win.
Why Obama could Endorse Andrew Yang
Hence, I think Obama could take the game changing step of endorsing a primary candidate. Additionally, Obama could disrupt everything by endorsing somebody other than Biden.
Strangely, I think Obama could endorse Andrew Yang (D-New York). An endorsement is possible because Obama and Yang appear to share a number of beliefs.
Yang’s signature policy is the Freedom Dividend a basic income scheme. Notably, Obama endorsed a basic income in his first major speech after leaving office. Obama praised the basic income during the July 2018 Nelson Mandela Lecture in South Africa, The Week reports.
Moreover, in a 2016 Bloomberg Businessweek interview Obama gave this response to a question about a Basic Income: “The way I describe it is that, because of automation, because of globalization, we’re going to have to examine the social compact, the same way we did early in the 19th century and then again during and after the Great Depression.”
Yang Echoes Obama
Interestingly, Obama anticipated Yang’s basic argument that self-driving vehicles will kill many jobs in the same interview. In fact, Yang fears job-stealing autonomous trucks will drive truckers to rioting and terrorism.
“You know, people are worried about Uber, but the fear is actually driverless Uber, right,” Obama mused. “Or driverless buses or what have you.”
In addition, Yang’s principal campaign theme that Artificial Intelligence (AI) kills jobs echoes the last major report from the Obama White House. They issued that report: Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economyon 20 December 2016. Thus, Yang’s campaign has its roots in Obama’s policy ideas.
Andrew Yang Sounds like Obama
Finally, Yang and Obama are both outspoken critics of the woke culture. For instance, Yang criticized Saturday Night Live for firing comedian Shane Gillis because of a racial slur.
Yang even went on Twitter to defend Gillis and criticize woke culture. In his Tweet Yang echoes Obama’s criticism of woke culture.
“But I took the time to watch and listen to Shane’s work,” Yang tweets. “He does not strike me as malignant or evil. He strikes me as a still-forming comedian from central Pennsylvania who made some terrible and insensitive jokes and comments.”
Therefore, Yang and Obama share philosophies and ideas. Hence, Yang and Obama could be a good fit.
Andrew Yang the Great Communicator?
Finally, Andrew Yang is a very effective communicator who strikes me as both Obamaesque and Reaganesque.
To explain, Yang has President Ronald Reagan’s (R-California) capacity for communicating big ideas to ordinary people in simple ways. Importantly, Yang shares Reagan ability to communicate big ideas without being arrogant or condescending.
Interestingly, Obama has a similarity capacity for communicating with ordinary people. However, Obama lacks some of Reagan’s charisma and charm. Yang is likeable but his charm is limited.
I’m not the only one impressed by Yang’s campaigning and communications skills. Notably, CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza; a former Yang detractor, now praises the candidate.
Similarly, professional speaker and Forbes contributor Dana Brownlee observes Yang won the November 2019 debate even though he had the least TV time. In fact, Brownlee thinks Yang was the only candidate who connected with the audience during the debate.
Yang and Reagan
There are some similarities between Yang and Reagan. Reagan was a minor celebrity; a successful movie actor and GE spokesman, before entering politics.
Yang is a successful entrepreneur who attracted some attention as a philanthropist. Reagan drifted into politics by making speeches for General Electric (NYSE: GE). Yang drifted into politics by running his Venture for America Charity and working with the Obama White House.
The media and opponents underestimated and belittled Reagan. Yet today, many Americans now consider Reagan as one of our most successful presidents. Similarly, the media and political insiders mock and ignore Yang today.
Generation X Wants Reagan
I think Yang’s similarity to Reagan is no accident. Yang is a Generation Xer (born in 1975), who grew up with President Reagan. When Generation X members; such as Yang and me, think of a President we think of Reagan. When Yang wants to act presidential he imitates Reagan.
Furthermore, one reason most Generation X members despise Donald J. Trump (R-New York) is that we compare Trump to Reagan. Yang understands that Generation X wants another Reagan.
We don’t want Reagan’s policies; we want somebody similar to Reagan who can unite and inspire the nation. Obama sort of did that. Trump, meanwhile, divides Americans into warring tribes.
Is Obama helping Yang?
I have to wonder if Obama, has noticed Yang’s Reaganesque qualities and is helping Andrew. Remember, the two men offer similar policy prescriptions.
Notably, major political strategists have joined Yang’s campaign in recent weeks. In addition, they are repackaging Yang’s; previously invisible, wife Evelyn as Michelle Obama 2.0. Evelyn Yang is beautiful, attractive, articulate, and a stay at home mom as Michelle was. Evelyn could adopt Michelle’s image as “national soccer mom.”
Finally, Yang is running slick TV ads that remind me of Reagan’s famous “It’s Morning Again in America” commercial from 1984. Yang’s “A New Way Forward” adechoes “It’s Morning Again in America.” That’s no coincidence. Even the name “A New Way Forward” resembles “It’s Morning Again in America.”
Notably, Obama’s picture appears in “A New Way Forward.” The ad states President Obama named Andrew “a Champion of Change.” I do not think Yang would use Obama’s picture unless he had the ex-president’s approval.
What Happens if Obama Endorses Yang?
So what will happen if Obama endorses Yang? As I noted an Obama endorsement for any candidate will be a paradigm shift in American politics.
Ex-presidents have stayed out of presidential politics since Theodore Roosevelt (R-New York) in 1912. Note back then Colonel Roosevelt could run for a third term because they had not added the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution. Thankfully, Obama cannot.
Teddy Roosevelt is one of Obama’s heroes, so Barrack could look to TR as a role model for his post-presidency. By entering the 1912 race, Roosevelt injected ideas such as Social Security into American politics for the first time. Obama could emulate Teddy by using a presidential race to promote basic income through Yang.
If Obama changes that tradition, other ex-Presidents; such as Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas) and George W. Bush (R-Texas) will be free to enter the primary battles. Bush; in particular, will be in a tough spot. If Obama campaigns for Yang. There will be pressure on Bush to campaign for a man he despises: Donald J. Trump.
A Yang endorsement will be a huge risk for Obama. If he takes sides Obama will go from beloved elder statesman to hated politician. In particular, Democrats will blame Obama; if he endorses Yang, and Trump gets reelected next year.
How an Obama endorsement could Change Presidential politics
Additionally, the left and the Big Media will be free to attack Obama. If Obama endorses Yang, I predict we will see many “news stories” about all the money billionaires pay Obama. Moreover, the media will begin attacking Michelle and Obama’s daughters.
Obama; however, could want to redefine the role of ex-president. I suspect retirement bores Obama so he wants a little excitement. As an old pol, Obama’s idea of excitement is a good nasty, election. Presently, 2020 is shaping up to be a close and nasty election.
Since Obama has no interest in running for Senate or Governor; remember he’s already had the top job, Barack needs another way to participate. One way to join the battle is by working with a presidential campaign. Plus, joining the battle could give Obama the added pleasure of fighting a guy he hates; Trump.
How an Obama Endorsement for Yang could disrupt the Primaries
An Obama endorsement for Yang, could disrupt the Democratic primary completely.
First, I think a large percentage of African American voters could vote for Yang if their hero endorses him. That will destroy Biden; who receives the support of 44% of black voters in South Carolina, the Quinnipac Poll claims.
Additionally, Obama could solve his Biden problem by ensuring that buffoon’s defeat. An Obama endorsement could make Yang the front runner in South Carolina. Currently, Biden is the front runner in South Carolina with 36% of the vote.
Yang could Win Big on Super Tuesday
Observers think the black vote is the only reason Biden does well in South Carolina. The Emerson Poll estimates 42% of African Americans support Biden.
Additionally, Yang could win big on Super Tuesday; 3 March 2019, if Obama endorses him. Several states with large African American populations; including North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, and Arkansas, will vote on Super Tuesday.
Moreover, Yang, who is of Chinese heritage, could do well in California; where 14.12% of the population is Asian, World Population Review estimates. Add the 5.81% of black Californians to the Asians, and Yang could win big in California.
Remember, it was Super Tuesday 2016 that made Trump the uncontested Republican candidate and put him on the road to the White House. I have to wonder if Obama senses a similar upset coming and wants to get on the bandwagon.
In the final analysis, Obama could hold the key to victory in the Democratic primaries. Therefore, we need to ask will Obama use that key and who will he help with it?