As many are aware, Barack Obama is the first former president since Woodrow Wilson to remain in D.C. following the conclusion of his presidency. While he’s told us he won’t criticize President Donald Trump unless he does something “un-American,” that doesn’t mean he won’t channel his inner George Soros and try to influence politics by pulling the strings behind the curtain.
Obama will have an active role in a number of progressive organizations, with the most notable being Organizing for Action, the outfit that launched him to the presidency. The group is expanding rapidly in light of Trump’s victory, and now boasts 250 offices nationwide and more than 32,000 volunteers. Some journalists have referred to them as Obama’s “shadow government.”
That has some on the right scared, and others on the left outraged that there wasn’t more “organizing for action” done as the Democratic Party was hemorrhaging their political power.
As the Daily Beast reported:
“This is some GRADE A Bulls**t right here,” Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party, wrote in a private Democratic-listserv email obtained by The Daily Beast. Handwerk was reacting to news of OFA’s post-election retooling, which was shared “without comment” to the group of state-level Dems by Crystal Kay Perkins, executive director for Texas Democrats.
“It also to me seems TONE DEAF—we have lost over 1,000 seats in the past 8 years…all because of this crap,” Handwerk continued. “Let’s get through the next two weeks—but then we gotta figure this out and keep the pressure on. WOW.”
Others on the thread shared these sentiments.
“Yes, it sure is,” Katie Mae Simpson, executive director for the Maine Democratic Party, replied. “OFA showed up in Maine, organized a press conference on saving [Obamacare], with one of our Dem legislative leaders speaking, all without ever mentioning that they were in state and organizing. They hired someone I know, which is somewhat helpful, but my god, they don’t have a very good alliance-building process.”
Such grievances, though expressed privately, are nothing new among state Democratic Party leadership.
“[With] all due respect to President Obama, OFA was created as a shadow party because Obama operatives had no faith in state parties,” Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb told Politico last week.
Some members of the DNC are expressing concern that the OFA risks diverting fundraising away from the Party and towards what will be Obama’s political base. Two Democrat operatives that the Daily Beast reached out to for comment referred to OFA as “the Devil.”
Eight years of Barack Obama in the White House destroyed the Democratic Party’s influence nationally. Will he unintentionally be keeping up the streak by remaining politically active out of office? Let’s hope.
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]