Former U.S. President Barack Obama has made it clear that he is eager to help Democratic candidates take back the Senate, House of Representatives and governor mansions across the nation.
However, in spite of the fact that the list features a diverse assortment of candidates of all ages and walks of life, it is not hard to notice that many progressive Democrat candidates have been left out.
It appears that one reason why many progressive candidates were left out in the cold is the fact that the former president has not endorsed candidates who are running as primary challengers against incumbent Democrats. The move, which is likely an attempt to maintain party unity in the face of a progressive-moderate division, means that socialist darlings such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cynthia Nixon aren’t on Obama’s shortlist.
Other leading progressive candidates who failed to receive Mr. Obama’s endorsement include Ben Jealous, who is currently running for governor or Maryland and Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Republican Senator Ted Cruz for a Senate seat in Texas. Some may be surprised to note that current Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn’t on the list either. However, it should be noted that Mr. Obama already endorsed Sen. Feinstein earlier this year even though the California Democrat Party opted to buck the DNC tide and endorse her progressive rival, State Sen. Kevin de Leon.
At the same time, there are a few progressives who did manage to obtain the former president’s endorsement. One of the most notable ones is Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor of California. Mr. Newsom is an avid proponent of a single-payer healthcare system that is embraced by progressive Democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, but generally viewed as less than desirable by many establishment Democrats. Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor of Georgia, also got an endorsement. While she is commonly viewed as a progressive candidate she does not lean as far left as many of the progressives who are currently running for office throughout the country. Jacky Rosen, who is running for Senate in Nevada and has stated that medical care is a right but hasn’t endorsed a single payer healthcare system, likewise got Mr. Obama’s support.
It remains to be seen if Obama’s endorsements will help candidates win their respective races; however, it could make a positive difference in many communities as many people view the former president in a positive light and are willing to listen to his opinions. At the same time, there are many in the party who are currently leaning much further left than the former president did throughout his time in office. Those who are calling for the abolishment of ICE, universal health care, a federal right to work act and other measures will likely be disappointed to see that Obama isn’t willing to be an active champion on their behalf.
Clearly, Obama is still obsessed with his own legacy, and is therefore only willing to throw his political weight behind candidates he feels certain will win. These left-leaning voters are unlikely to be swayed by the former president’s lack of endorsement of their favored candidates.
It is worth noting that this initial list of endorsements from the former president is just the start. Mr. Obama is expected to release another list of endorsed candidates before the 2018 mid-term elections. However, if this current list is any indication, it is clear he puts a premium on party unity and maintaining at least a semblance of the status quo. Progressive candidates who may have been hoping for a much-needed endorsement should not expect help and assistance from the former president, and this is especially true of candidates who have challenged incumbent Democrats in local or national elections.
~ Liberty Planet