President Barack Obama thinks he could have beaten President Elect Donald Trump. During a so-called “exit” interview with David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, President Obama said that he was confident in his vision of America and that if had run again and articulated that vision he would have won:
I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.
There is plenty of evidence that Obama is wrong, but Axelrod’s close relationship with Obama did not permit reality to interfere with the love fest interview broadcast Monday on Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files” from CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. In addition to having worked on Obama’s campaigns, Axelrod also served as a Senior Advisor to President Obama. Currently Axelrod serves as the director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and is a Senior Political Commentator for CNN. He is also a former political writer for the Chicago Tribune.
The vision referred to in Obama’s audacious claim was his “one America” from his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention. Axelrod calls that speech, “foundational for almost everything that came after.” Obama sees it as an aspirational speech, a description of our best selves and who we might be — the reality of our common cause and how it’s connected to our best traditions, starting with the Constitution through the fight for abolition, through the Civil Rights era, the Women’s Movement, unionization and the melting pot:
It is a struggle, but there’s this thing in us, there’s this thing in this country that is good and unifies us. And ultimately, will win out. That was the speech.
This is where I see Obama’s appeal. Those aspirational ideals are very appealing, as is hope and change. Unfortunately, that is not how Obama has governed. He didn’t govern by consensus, as the system created by the founders requires.
Instead Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America was shoved down our throats by partisan legislation like Obama’s so-called stimulus, and the ever unpopular ObamaCare. Then there were Obama’s extra-legal “executive actions” to “reform” immigration doing what even he said over and over that he wasn’t allowed to do.
And when Congressional leaders tried to work with Obama, he would go too far, like when he blew a tax reform deal by moving the goal posts seeking an additional $400 billion in new revenue after the framework for a deal was set.
2016 was a change election. Voters wanted nothing to do with the political Establishment. Even though Obama won reelection in 2012, he wouldn’t have beaten Trump. No one was able to beat Trump. Obama would have been just one more Washington insider for Trump to take down like he did Hillary Clinton and his 16 fellow Republican candidates.
Obama was severely punished by voters for the way he governed. During Obama’s presidency, the Democrats’ Party suffered huge losses at every level. The Democrats lost a grand total of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency. The loss of 958 state legislative seats effectively wiped out the Democrats’ farm team.
Even Bill Scher agrees that Obama would not have beaten Trump. Scher writes that Trump was able to flip six states Obama won in 2012, driving up white turnout while many of the minorities Clinton needed stayed home. Unfortunately, Scher blames racism to a large degree. In addition Scher blames the economy ObamaCare and lost jobs, but fails to even mention Trump’s emphasis on stopping illegal immigration.