A new report in The Hill indicates ex-President Obama is playing an active role in fixing a Democratic Party that fell from grace on his watch.
President Obama is taking an active role in fixing the Democratic Party, according to a new report in The Hill.
Amie Parnes had the details on Sunday:
Since leaving office, he has held meetings — on a by-request basis — with a handful of House and Senate lawmakers in his office in Washington’s West End and over the phone.
In recent months, for example, he sat down one-on-one with freshman Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), according to a Democrat familiar with the meeting.
He has also met with and has had phone conversations with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez throughout the spring, according to two sources.
There are risks and rewards for the Democratic Party with this approach, as it struggles to get out of the political wilderness in 2017 and beyond.
On the one hand, Obama left office a relatively popular president. His approval rating when he left in January was 59 percent, a better rating than Hillary Clinton received in March (35 percent approval, 55 percent disapproval).
Plus, Obama, at 55, is younger than many of the Democratic Party’s current leaders, like Nancy Pelosi (76) and Chuck Schumer (65).
On the other hand, Democrats saw a “rapid erosion” of their power under eight years of Obama. From FiveThirtyEight:
In his eight years in office, Obama oversaw the rapid erosion of the Democratic Party’s political power in state legislatures, congressional districts and governor’s mansions. At the beginning of Obama’s term, Democrats controlled 59 percent of state legislatures, while now they control only 31 percent, the lowest percentage for the party since the turn of the 20th century. They held 29 governor’s offices and now have only 16, the party’s lowest number since 1920.
Many voters, of course, also rejected Obama’s vision for the country at the ballot box in 2016, when his preferred choice, Hillary Clinton, lost to a historically-unpopular opponent.
With a Democratic Party that seems lost in 2017, though, do they have anyone to turn to but Obama?
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