Former US President Barack Obama, who has in recent time kept a rather low profile, is now poised to hit the road ahead of the November midterms and campaign for the Democrats in a number of swing states, along with those narrowly won by Trump, The Hill reported.
Most importantly, though, he is expected to rally the electorate and motivate Democrats across the country to go out and vote, thereby handling a problem that Democrats woke up to in the 2016 presidential elections.
The former head of state will attempt to get things back on track by first taking the floor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday, and thereafter travel around California, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a person familiar with the matter told The Hill.
Although the former president still enjoys popularity among the country’s Democratic camp, especially African-Americans, Democrats are raising concern that the high-profile figure entering the political arena ahead of the midterms might, however, inadvertently distract Democrats from their strategy and even, effectively, activate conservatives and Trump supporters.
One of these is Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), along with Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.).
“We’re not going to use any surrogates. Surrogates are fine but we don’t need them. The race is myself and Matt Rosendale and that’s the way we want to keep it,” Tester told The Hill, referring to his GOP challenger.
Asked if she thought Obama would show up in North Dakota, Heitkamp said: “Nope, no,” going on to explain:
“He threatened to campaign against me once so I don’t think he’s coming out there.”
There are also fears that Obama’s part in the campaign might play into the current president’s hands.
“Trump wants nothing more than a foil. He knows he can activate the other side," a source familiar with Obama's intentions noted, adding that the former head of the country is “going to be involved this fall in a very Obamaesque, smart way.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), said the party welcomes Obama’s help, dwelling on his joint fundraiser for the DSCC last year, but noted that the decision rests with individual candidates to decide whether to invite him to their states or not.
According to the Hill, Democratic sources say Obama will campaign with Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.) in Pennsylvania.
“We look forward to campaigning with him, we hope, in the fall. I hope to. I don’t know what the schedule will be,” Casey said.
Meanwhile, there is a heated debate around Obama’s endorsement lists, which he started to issue in early August: some Democrats, interestingly, with Casey among them, have not yet received Obama’s seal of approval, namely those who currently have a Senate seat in pro-Trump states. However, sources say a greater number of endorsement lists will come along in the next two months.
The 2018 United States midterm elections will be held mostly on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, thereby marking the middle of Republican President Trump’s term in office. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be up for vote.