Obama’s Return Highlights Lack of Democratic Leaders

By NTK Staff | 10.20.2017 @3:43pm
Obama’s Return Highlights Lack of Democratic Leaders

The former president hit the campaign trail in New Jersey and Virginia Thursday, but his presence is reminding voters that Democrats have no true leader.

It was a happy reunion for Democrats Thursday when former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail for rallies in New Jersey and Virginia Thursday.

Campaigning on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidates in each state, Obama attacked President Trump, touted his own successes, and made the case for the candidates he was endorsing.

But Obama’s mere presence on the campaign stage highlighted a key problem Democrats have had since about noon on January 20, 2017: they lack a leader.

Beyond Obama, the party ’s biggest names are familiar figures who have their share of baggage. Fresher faces have not yet become national stars.

The Hill’s Niall Stranage then ticks through a list of ghosts of Democrats past. Hillary Clinton, DNC Chair Tom Perez, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi – the list neither inspires nor offers any fresh faces or ideas.

Stanage then expands the list and notes the pitfalls that come with it:

Among the names most often mentioned are progressive icons Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and rising stars such as Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

But that could be a chaotic battle. Tensions still fester between the 2016 camps of Clinton and Sanders, erupting with startling frequency and ferocity on social media. And some argue that the divide between progressives and the center-left is not the only cross-current the party will have to deal with.

Democrats remain stuck in 2016, and until they come to terms with those issues in a public way, they won’t be able to unify behind a leader.

“We’re still, as a party, at a place where people need to assess what happened in the last election and figure out where to go,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told The Hill. “I want to see everyone who is interested vie to be the leader of the party.”

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