When it comes to the 2020 elections, the Democrats' most powerful if ineligible candidate, former president Obama, just can't quite put his finger on who he wants to be the next democratic president. Two weeks ago, Trump's predecessor cautioned 2020 Democratic candidates not to move too far to the left - a clear warning not to vote for Warren or Sanders - as messages of sweeping societal and government transformations risk turning off the party's moderate base, the New York Times reported.
"Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality," said Obama - who told a room of wealthy liberal donors: "Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality."
"The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it."
Even odder has been Obama's failure of explicitly endorse his own vice president and the on again, off again frontrunner in the democratic primary, Joe Biden.
So as many Democrats look to Obama for inspiration on who to pick amid a field of candidates where nobody sticks out, last week, the former president gave some additional insight into his thought process regarding the coming elections, and last Thusday Obama simply said that he doesn’t care if his fellow Democrats like the 2020 candidate, he just wants them to pull the lever for whoever wins the nomination.
“Everybody needs to chill out about the candidates, but gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from this process,” Obama told tech leaders during a fundraiser in Silicon Valley last Thursday, the Daily Wire reported.
And though he stressed that he was calling for unity, Obama reiterated some of his latent criticism.
“When you listen to the average voter — even ones who are stalwart Democrats, are more independent or low-information voters — they don’t feel that things are working well but they’re also nervous about changes that might take away what little they have,” he said. “So there’s always a balance in politics between hope and fear.”
The event — which featured a top-ticket price of $355,000 — was expected to raise over $3 million for the Democratic National Committee. The fundraiser was hosted at the home of Karla Jurvetson, an ascendant Democratic megadonor in Silicon Valley politics. Other key fundraisers for the event included former Twitter executive Katie Jacobs Stanton and former Obama ambassador Denise Bauer. Stephen Curry, the star point guard of the Golden State Warriors, also attended alongside his wife Ayesha, who spoke at the event.
While there are still 15 candidates running for the Democratic nomination (after the withdrawal of Kamala Harris earlier today), only four are polling in double digits, with most either at 1% or 0%. But Obama said whoever gets the nod should get the vote.
“There will be differences” between the candidates, Obama said, “but I want us to make sure that we keep in mind that, relative to the ultimate goal, which is to defeat a president and a party that has … taken a sharp turn away from a lot of the core traditions and values and institutional commitments that built this country,” those differences are “relatively minor.”
“The field will narrow and there’s going to be one person, and if that is not your perfect candidate and there are certain aspects of what they say that you don’t agree with and you don’t find them completely inspiring the way you’d like, I don’t care,” he said. “Because the choice is so stark and the stakes are so high that you cannot afford to be ambivalent in this race.”
Obama was directly addressing Silicon Valley’s wealthiest Democratic donors, telling them to “chill” in their debate over the party’s candidates, and seeking to ease the tensions among tech billionaires who have broken into separate camps backing Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and — most surprisingly — Elizabeth Warren, according to recode.
Obama may have his job cut out for him: with many Democratic voters confused or merely bored silly by the current roster of candidates, two newcomers, Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entered the race adding further to the confusion. Last month, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, drew fewer than 100 people to a South Carolina “Environmental Justice” forum. And she’s a frontrunner!
Meanwhile, Gallup released a poll last week that had some troubling news for Democrats, as only 66% of the party faithful said they’re enthusiastic about the upcoming election. And while for Republicans the number is 65%, "this differed from the typical pattern Gallup has seen over the years, whereby those who identify with the political party of the incumbent president have been less enthusiastic about voting than members of the opposing party,” Gallup wrote.
Ironically, Obama isn't alone in saying Democrats need to hold their nose when they vote for the eventual nominee. Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, said in August that her husband might not be the best candidate, but told voters “maybe you have to swallow a little bit” and vote for him anyway.
"Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care, than Joe is,” Jill Biden said on MSNBC, “but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘OK, I personally like so-and-so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”
During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, she repeated the point. “I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that. But I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who’s going to win this race. So I think if your goal — I know my goal — is to beat Donald Trump, we have to have someone who can beat him," she said.