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Obama Called In As Biden Struggles Against Trump


With Donald Trump resurgent in the polls, a rattled Biden White House has turned in desperation to Barack Obama amid signs of a possible GOP comeback in 2024. 

Despite Biden’s decisive 2020 victory, Trump has regained political momentum as Biden’s approval rating sinks to dismal new lows. 

Sensing the president’s weakness even within his own party, the Biden campaign is now clinging to Obama’s enduring popularity to energize dispirited Democrats. 

But with Obama unavailable on the ballot, Biden faces doubts that he can rebuild the winning coalition by himself. 

The president’s new reliance on his old running mate underscores the urgency of Biden’s predicament in the face of Trump’s menacing poll numbers.

With his approval rating mired in the 30s and former President Trump leading him in early 2024 matchup polls, President Biden has turned to his old running mate Barack Obama to provide a boost to his struggling campaign.

According to a report from CNN, the Biden team has leaned heavily on Obama to help with fundraising efforts, including raking in nearly $4 million from appeals focused on small dollar donors. The main effort was a contest for grassroots supporters to meet both Biden and Obama, which proved to be the campaign’s biggest fundraising success of the election cycle so far.

The “Meet the Presidents” contest brought in $2.6 million for Biden’s campaign. It culminated with the contest winners, a mother and son named Cynthia and Nicholas Driscoll, meeting Biden and Obama at the White House earlier this month.

Biden touted the joint appearance with Obama on Twitter, saying it was “great teaming up with my friend and brother, Barack Obama, to spend some time with supporters Cynthia and Nick.”

The Obama-themed contest shows how the Biden campaign is getting creative with trying to capitalize on Obama’s continued popularity within the Democratic base. Obama remains a beloved figure among liberals and a talisman for the Obama-Biden coalition that delivered two decisive victories in 2008 and 2012.

According to a Biden campaign official, Obama has become the most effective fundraiser, not Biden, Harris, Jill Biden or Doug Emhoff. The campaign has heavily featured the former president in fundraising emails, digital ads and videos. This includes using footage of Obama and Biden together in campaign materials.

And the Biden team is planning even more Obama-focused fundraising efforts heading into 2024. There are plans underway for a new direct mail campaign featuring Obama to arrive in mailboxes over the holiday season. The money raised will help boost Biden’s fundraising haul in the first quarter of 2024, as the campaign prepares to ramp up for the general election.

Biden’s heavy reliance on Obama comes as he finds himself in a surprisingly weak political position at this stage of his presidency. Despite inheriting a raging pandemic and volatile economy, Biden was elected in a landslide in 2020 after campaigning on a promise to heal the nation’s divisions and restore normalcy.

But after three years in office, Biden is bogged down with an approval rating hovering around just 39% which is the lowest any president’s approval ratings has ever gotten. 

Looking back at previous modern presidents, all but two – Trump and Obama – had approval ratings at or above 50% at a similar point. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were both at 51% approval nearing their reelection campaign. Meanwhile, Ronald Reagan stood even stronger at 54%, along with Jimmy Carter.

The two most recent predecessors provide the most relevant comparison to Biden. Barack Obama was a bit higher at 43% approval. And Donald Trump, who narrowly lost his bid for reelection, was at 45%. Both had managed to consolidate more support than Biden by this stage of their term.

In fact, the president with the highest approval at this point was George W. Bush, fresh off the capture of Saddam Hussein. Bush’s approval spiked to 58% in December 2003 as he eyed a second term.

Clearly, Biden has failed to replicate anything close to that level of public confidence. His 39% approval is the lowest of any modern president at roughly the two year mark. The number underscores the public discontent that has dragged down perceptions of his leadership and the direction of the country.

Biden’s poor polling among young voters in particular is especially alarming considering he won that demographic by over 20 percentage points against Trump in the 2020 election, based on exit poll data. The dramatic shift in support from young people since Biden’s decisive 2020 victory highlights how much ground Democrats have lost with a key part of their coalition.

Now, surveys from reputable outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Harvard-Harris show Trump leading Biden by 2 to 6 percentage points among registered voters.

The polling has caused deep frustration within Biden’s inner circle, as they struggle to find an effective message to promote his accomplishments and connect with disaffected voters. Despite a robust economic recovery and strong job growth, Biden has been unable to take credit and convert good news into higher approval ratings.

Hoping to turn things around before 2024, the White House has convened multiple strategy sessions for Biden to brainstorm with advisers on ways to better communicate with the public. But the messaging so far has failed to adequately break through.

With Obama’s assistance, the Biden campaign is pulling out all the stops to engage donors. His team has set an ambitious $67 million target for fourth quarter fundraising, which would match what Obama hauled in during the same period ahead of his 2012 reelection.

Biden himself just finished a 5-day fundraising tour through wealthy enclaves that added $15 million to the coffers from high dollar events.

No longer the political phenom he was in 2008, Obama nevertheless remains hugely popular and influential with the Democratic base. The Biden campaign is betting that leveraging Obama’s stardom can help energize supporters and increase small dollar enthusiasm.

Of course, money alone cannot solve Biden’s political woes if voters continue souring on his leadership. 

One thing Obama cannot necessarily fix is Biden’s underlying difficulty communicating with the public and rebutting criticism. As an orator, Obama’s eloquence far outshines Biden’s sometimes rambling speaking style.

But Democrats are betting nostalgia for the Obama presidency and distaste for Trumpism can still motivate voters when the choice crystallizes again in November 2024. Obama and Biden together symbolize a return to a more dignified, mainstream leadership.

That is the message Obama is aiming to drive home in his fundraising pitches and campaign activity over the next two years. While avoiding direct politics, Obama has shown a willingness to do what he can to aid Biden’s reelection fight discreetly from the sidelines. 

Though Obama himself does not engage directly in the political fray anymore, it is not far-fetched to assume he offers advice and counsel to his former Vice President. Even without direct involvement, Obama’s influence can be seen in many of the policies and messaging of the Biden White House, which often echo themes and ideas from the Obama era. So while Obama stays out of the public political spotlight, he likely serves as an influential adviser to President Biden behind closed doors.

While Obama works privately to bolster Biden’s standing, the president faces immense pressure to turn things around on his own before 2024.

The dramatic shift in Biden’s political standing compared to when he first came into office has created a sense of urgency bordering on panic within the Democratic Party. Biden’s precipitous polling decline, coupled with Trump’s resurgence, threatens to undo all the progress made since 2020.

Despite Biden’s sweeping victory over Trump, Democrats now face the nightmare scenario of a possible Trump comeback. Much to their chagrin, Trump seems poised to recapture momentum heading into the 2024 race.

With Biden unable to consolidate support, even Democrats acknowledge re-taking the White House will require herculean efforts. The party is banking on an Obama-style contagion of enthusiasm to repel Trump’s base once more. But generating that level of voter energy without Obama himself on the ballot remains a steep challenge.

Yet Democrats believe once the choice crystallizes between Biden and Trump again, wavering supporters will come off the sidelines.

Looking ahead, Trump’s resurgence presents a grave threat to Biden’s presidency. Despite Biden’s sweeping victory just two years ago, Trump seems poised to recapture momentum heading into 2024. With Biden struggling to consolidate support, Trump has an opening to undo the 2020 result.

Biden’s reliance on Obama’s nostalgic appeal shows just how weak his standing has become. We see a flailing, unpopular president desperately clinging to his former boss to bail out his struggling campaign. 

But no amount of Obama magic can mask Biden’s failed policies and poor leadership. With Trump surging, conservatives have renewed hope of reclaiming the White House and reversing the damage done by Biden’s first term. 

Come 2024, voters will have the chance to finish the job and replace Biden with the strong leadership of Trump. No liberal celebrity like Obama can save Biden from the judgment of America’s silent majority.

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