The president claimed in an interview that most Americans still have progressive politicsBarack Obama has said he believes he would have won a third term in office were he eligible to run in the 2016 presidential election, while also casting a skeptical eye at the UK Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.In a wide-ranging interview with former aide David Axelrod, the outgoing president expressed his belief that he could have won re-election in 2016, based on his view that most Americans still subscribed to his progressive vision and ideals.
“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama said on Axelrod’s CNN podcast.
The outgoing president summarized this progressive American spirit as one that “manifests itself in communities all across the country”.“We see it in this younger generation that is smarter, more tolerant, more innovative, more creative, more entrepreneurial, would not even think about, you know, discriminating against somebody for example because of their sexual orientation.”
Ultimately, Obama did not think the election represented a sea change in American politics or a repudiation of his administration, insisting that “the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism”.
To an extent, this was reflected in the final outcome of the election, where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3m votes.
Despite Clinton’s popular plurality, however, she lost several industrial states in the Rust Belt by narrow margins. She lost Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes, Wisconsin by 23,000 votes and Michigan by 10,000 votes. Had she won all three states, Clinton would have bested Trump in the electoral college and won the White House.Obama might very well have fared better in the 2016 election. Clinton was unable to turn out as many African American voters as Obama had in the previous two general elections. Her support among blue-collar white voters also collapsed. This was particularly notable in Wisconsin, a state where Obama won white non-college-educated voters in both 2008 and 2012. Clinton was unable to compensate for these demographic losses with sufficient gains among Hispanic, white and college-educated voters.
Trump responded to Obama’s comments on Twitter late on Monday afternoon.
“President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc”, the president-elect wrote.Obama currently has a favorable rating of 55% according to an average of polls compiled by HuffPost Pollster, while Trump is at 43%.
However, the outgoing president insisted that he didn’t fear what Axelrod called “a Corbynization” of the Democratic party following this bruising loss in the November election, “partly because I think that the Democratic party has stayed pretty grounded in fact and reality”.
Obama indirectly compared the state of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn to that of the Republican party in the US, which he said had “started filliThe president contrasted this with the Republican party, which he characterized as “mov[ing] further and further and further away from what we would consider to be a basic consensus around things like climate change or how the economy works”.
The result, Obama said, was that “it started filling up with all kinds of conspiracy theorizing that became kind of common wisdom or conventional wisdom within the Republican party base. That hasn’t happened in the Democratic party. I think people like the passion that Bernie brought, but Bernie Sanders is a pretty centrist politician relative to … Corbyn or relative to some of the Republicans”.
A spokesman for Corbyn said: “Both Labour and US Democrats will have to challenge power if they are going to speak for working people and change a broken system that isn’t delivering for the majority. What Jeremy Corbyn stands for is what most people want: to take on the tax cheats, create a fairer economy, fund a fully public NHS, build more homes, and stop backing illegal wars.“For the establishment, those ideas are dangerous. For most people in Britain, they’re common sense and grounded in reality.”
Obama is barred from running for a third term under a provision of the US constitution. Since the ratification of the 22nd amendment in 1951, presidents have been unable to serve more than two terms in office. Although there had previously been no limit on how many terms one could serve in the presidency, the two terms served by George Washington had served as an unbinding precedent on his successors. However, this precedent was broken by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s decision to run for a third term in 1940. After Roosevelt won that election as well as the succeeding one in 1944, hostility from Republicans towards his actions led to the 22nd amendment’s passage.ng up with all kinds of conspiracy theorizing”.