Politico’s Bill Scher unceremoniously yanked the one remaining leg out of President Barack Obama’s stool in a Wednesday op-ed that described Obama’s prospects had he run against President-elect Donald Trump.
Obama claimed in a Monday interview with CNN’s David Axelrod that his ground game would have gotten out the minority vote such that he would have surmounted Trump’s election efforts in 2016. Not so fast, Scher wrote, because Obama’s dream falls apart amid a wash of black activists who voiced disappointment in his presidency during the run up to the election.
New York Times columnist Nate Cohn asserted that if black turnout kept close to 2012 levels, Clinton would have won what turned out to be key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Scher asserted that Obama’s low approval rating through much of the campaign only served to hurt Democrats overall. Dr. Cornell West, one of the country’s most prominent black activists, opposed Obama for several years as a “neoliberal,” and the Black Lives Matters movement criticized Obama for not taking their side with respect to protests.
Scher argues that Democrats need to accept that even Obama couldn’t have pulled off a win against Trump, because the Democratic Party needs to understand the importance of coalition building once again. If Obama and Clinton were able to alienate black voters, then it’s important to work to ensure those voters are motivated to return to the polls in 2018 and beyond.
Scher’s analysis doesn’t, however, highlight that Obama considered himself part of the ballot, as the president stated repeatedly during his campaign speeches on behalf of Clinton. Obama even went as far as to say that if black voters didn’t deliver the White House to Clinton in 2016, it would be a direct insult to his legacy.
Black voters nationwide failed to turn out, and other groups like Latinos and white single women came out to vote for Trump in greater numbers than either former Gov. Mitt Romney or Sen. John McCain garnered in 2012 and 2008 against Obama.
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