Former President Barack Obama cautiously waded into the Democratic primary contest for the first time Friday evening, warning a group of liberal donors and party activists against veering too far left in their zeal to oust incumbent President Donald Trump.
In a speech in Washington D.C. to the Democratic Alliance, Obama cautioned his fellow Democrats not to pay too much attention to “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds” or “the activist wing of our party” when campaigning for the nomination, according to an account of the speech in the New York Times.
“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
Obama, in what amounted to a stern warning to the 2020 field, bluntly said Friday that voters are "less revolutionary than … interested in improvement" and warned about turning off certain segments of the electorate by not being "rooted in reality." https://t.co/4rHyASCtqq— Dan Merica (@merica) November 16, 2019
While the former president did not single out any Democratic candidates by name, his advice seemed directed at front-runners Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who have pushed the current campaign more toward the fringes with proposals for government-run health care and more lenient immigration policies.
Obama urged the Democrats not to push too hard in their efforts to move beyond his own legacy and alienate independents and moderate Democrats who will be critical to winning the general election in 2020.
“I don’t think we should be deluded into thinking that the resistance to certain approaches to things is simply because voters haven’t heard a bold enough proposal and if they hear something as bold as possible then immediately that’s going to activate them,” he said.
The people writing these stories don’t understand who is in the Democracy Alliance, at all. “The room was populated by the kind of people, Obama knew, that have recently been wearing out itheir loafers searching for a savior candidate.” Nope. https://t.co/F70Zp6AUV6— David desJardins (@David_desJ) November 16, 2019
Obama has so far remained largely on the sidelines of the contentious Democratic primary, rarely commenting on the field of candidates. He promised, however, to “work my tail off to make sure” whoever wins the nomination defeats Trump next November.