Will Wednesday Be the Day President Obama Officially Endorses Hillary Clinton?
Everyone knows that one of the most necessary pieces to ensuring President Barack Obama‘s legacy is the election of a Democratic party candidate to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this Fall.
But to the surprise of just about everybody, June 2016 sees the Democrats — not the Republicans — as the party still undecided on a candidate. The upstart, underdog, longshot, and barely-short-of-miraculous run of Independent Senator and self-professed Socialist Bernie Sanders has put former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s own path to the nomination in jeopardy at times. While the early stages of the 2016 cycle brought with it headlines about the fractured conservative base and the clown-car GOP, the so-called “easy path” to victory for Clinton has been anything but.
Sanders strung together a populist message that resonated with the American people to the point of frustration for many establishment figures in the Democratic party. While many party bigwigs have called for Sanders to put his campaign to bed, today on the eve of the California primary Clinton’s +2.0 point lead over Sanders is hardly a sure thing. The pledged delegate count heading into tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday 5” (find some new branding names, people) is far too close for Clintonian comfort; the former Secretary edges Sanders by the slight margin of 1,809 to 1,520, and has pulled away from her unlikely foe mainly due to the disproportionate superdelegate count (Clinton blows Sanders out of the water here, 548 to just 46).
While the Commander-in-Chief has been mum on offering a formal endorsement considering his party has been touting two candidates up until now, sources are now indicating that President Obama is prepared to endorse his formal campaign rival Hillary Clinton as early as this week.
The New York Times‘ Julie Hirschfield Davis and Michael Shear wrote this morning that the President is, “now ready to aggressively campaign” on behalf of the Clinton camp ahead of the general election showdown with Donald Trump.
President Obama reportedly told a group of donors in Miami this past weekend, “I want us to run scared the whole time.” Here in the final months of his Presidency, Obama’s approval ratings hovers somewhere around 51% according to Gallup, a considerably positive omen for the Clinton machine looking for all the help it can get to tackle the “dangerous” and “bigoted” Trump.
Mainstream media outlets have already championed the fact that they are prepared to declare Clinton the “presumptive nominee” Tuesday night, following her likely victory in New Jersey which will be called at 8:01 p.m. ET. Although the Garden State is only one of six states holding primaries Tuesday, she is inching closer to crossing over the delegate line and will likely do so tomorrow. This of course takes into account the superdelegates, which may flip for Sanders, though many are wary of a presumed swap of allegiance before the Philadelphia convention next month.
Which brings us to Wednesday morning, where undoubtedly we will all wake up to hear the Clinton v. Trump rhetoric blasted front and center. The potential endorsement from the President may come that very day; he is set to come to New York City on Wednesday to speak to Democratic fundraisers, just miles from the downtown Brooklyn headquarters of the Clinton camp.
The President has already practiced his anti-Trump slams, and not just in a series of well-delivered zingers at last month’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. In March, President Obama told a Texas crowd, “[Trump] is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in Kenya — who just wouldn’t let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren’t saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot, wanted to get his endorsement.” Before that, he candidly said at a news conference, “I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president,” furthering, “…and the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people.”
An endorsement on Wednesday from President Obama would be an opportunity to return the favor of sorts years after the 2008 campaign that saw the two then-Senators duke it out in a feisty primary season before Obama was declared the winner on June 3 of that year. Clinton pivoted immediately to support the Senator from Illinois, and after working closely together in the administration, the time to endorse may be drawing near. While the hopes of a copacetic bow-out-and-endorsement from Sanders may not be quite so immediate, the President’s popularity within his own party may be just the ticket to ensuring a Clinton presidency in 2016.
Update: CNN is reporting “two Democrats familiar with the effort” who say the endorsement could come this week.
J.D. Durkin (@jiveDurkey) is an editorial producer and columnist at Mediaite.
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[h/t The New York Times]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.