In states that could determine the Senate’s power balance, former President Barack Obama is exercising his political muscle in an effort to re-engage voters who don’t seem to be within President Joe Biden’s sphere of influence, according to the Washington Examiner.
Although Biden and Obama are teammates on the same Democratic team, the incumbent’s 12-point net-negative approval rating ahead of next week’s midterm elections is undermined by the party’s devotion to Obama.
Republicans have made fun of Biden for the distance that Senate and House candidates have taken from him. For instance, Nathan Brand, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, asserted that calling someone a “Biden Democrat” makes them “a loser” in the eyes of the general people.
“Biden can’t step foot in a swing district without reminding voters of the inflation Democrats caused, surging crime, and high gas prices,” Brand told the Washington Examiner.
In an interview with Fox News earlier on Monday, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel piled on, calling Obama a “relic” and characterizing his comeback as “Hail Mary desperation.”
According to pollster David Paleologos, Obama is still well-liked among independents, and there is currently “less hostility” directed at him from people who identify as leaning Republican. The same latitude does not apply to Biden.
According to Paleologos, director of Suffolk University’s Political Research Center, Biden is “wise to remain away,” giving Obama the chance to increase Democratic leads in key states.
“Number one, for people who are truly undecided who are likely to vote, it prevents that polarizing effect,” he said. “Number two is you prevent an increased turnout among people who maybe would have sat the race out and not voted, or didn’t like the candidates, and give them the added motivation to vote against the Dem,” Paleologos went on.
The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama, a book by Gabriel Debenedetti published this fall, highlighted divisions between Biden, Obama, and their different camps, which Democratic strategist Peter Fenn downplayed. Fenn insisted that Biden valued having Obama join him on the campaign trail.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” he said. “With the press attention Obama is getting, the crowds, the strength of his message, maybe that’s why the Wisconsin video has had 13 million views on Twitter.”
“The point is some of you here are on Social Security. Some of your parents are on Social Security. Some of your grandparents are on Social Security,” Obama said Saturday. “They worked hard jobs for it. They have chapped hands for it. They had long hours, and sore backs, and bad knees to get that Social Security.”
“If Ron Johnson does not understand that,” he added, “if he understands giving tax breaks for private planes more than he understands making sure that seniors who worked all their lives are able to retire with dignity and respect, he’s not the person who’s thinking about you and knows you and sees you, and he should not be your senator from Wisconsin.”