Last week, President Obama released a list of 81 candidates across the country which have received his endorsement for their midterm election in November. In addition to lending his name to endorse candidates, President Obama will also be physically showing up to support candidates by appearing at rallies in decisive districts where it’s believed his presence could help motivate the Democratic base.
Business Insider reports on the endorsements, which didn’t come without controversy as some notable Democratic names were left off the list:
Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday endorsed a “first wave” of Democratic candidates for the 2018 midterms.
Obama tweeted, “Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent.”
He continued: “I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law. But first, they need our votes.”
Here’s the full list from the President’s tweet:
Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent: pic.twitter.com/gWzalQhFas
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 1, 2018
Notably missing, however, is Democratic Party newcomer, and avowed “Democratic Socialist,” Ocasio-Cortez:
Obama’s list of 81 endorsements, which includes 48 women, notably did not include the rising star of the Democratic party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
Ocasio-Cortez has been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the future of the party after her shocking victory against longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic congressional primary in June. The self-declared Democratic socialist, who also worked on Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign, ran on a platform that puts her far to the left of many establishment Democrats.
Ocasio-Cortez is running a heavily blue Democratic district in New York City, she’ll have no problem winning the race without any endorsement, but the question is whether her name was ignored as an intentional snub, or a mere oversight. Some progressive writers are crying foul, and some conservative websites are having a field day pointing out the “snub” as meaning that even Democrats think Cortez is too left-wing.
It’s clear that President Obama’s endorsement means something to everyone despite whether or not it actually helps a candidate in the voting booth. Being “on” or “off” the list carries some meaning beyond whether or not the candidate welcomes the endorsement.
For his part, President Trump has semi-responded to the prior President’s involvement in his own “Trumpian” sort of way, according to the Washington Examiner:
President Trump said Sunday that there could be a “red wave” in the 2018 midterm elections, predicting that Democrats will be disappointed in their push to retake the House and Senate.
In a tweet, the president made his case boasting of strong approval numbers, but did not specify which polls he was referencing.
“Presidential Approval numbers are very good – strong economy, military and just about everything else. Better numbers than Obama at this point, by far,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “We are winning on just about every front and for that reason there will not be a Blue Wave, but there might be a Red Wave!”
With President Obama deciding to become personally involved, to the point of making campaign appearances, 2018 will be shaping up to be a Trump vs. Obama election where voters will subtly be pulling the lever for one man or the other in November.
President Obama, no doubt, will be pointing out all the things Democrats and moderates hate about the current President and urging voters to vote Democrat as a way to repudiate Trump.
On the other side, President Trump will be touting his economic numbers and contrasting the current economic growth rate to the weaker numbers seen during the Obama years. Trump will be asking voters to choose between a better economy under him, by voting Republican, to prevent the country from slipping back toward the slow-growth economic years of Obama.
Once we get past Labor Day, look for the 2018 campaign to kick into high gear as both parties dig in for two months of trench warfare.