Obama Said He Would Intervene To Stop Sanders From Winning 2020, Per Report
“Since losing 2016, Dem elites have waged a prolonged effort to stop Bernie. Bernie is the obvious answer to the neoliberal Clinton-Obama legacy voters rejected.”
A new article from Politico’s Ryan Lizza reveals a window into former President Barack Obama’s thoughts about the 2020 presidential election, including the striking claim that Obama would intervene to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders’ nomination if he developed a strong lead in the primary.
“There is one potential exception: Back when Sanders seemed like more of a threat than he does now, Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him. (Asked about that, a spokesperson for Obama pointed out that Obama recently said he would support and campaign for whoever the Democratic nominee is.)”
Lizza includes quotes from an anonymous Obama aide who refused to confirm whether Obama “would really lay himself on the line to prevent a Sanders nomination.”
“I can’t really confirm that,” an adviser told Politico, regarding the possibility of Obama trying to stop Sanders. “He hasn’t said that directly to me. The only reason I’m hesitating at all is because, yeah, if Bernie were running away with it, I think maybe we would all have to say something. But I don’t think that’s likely. It’s not happening.” (Another close Obama friend said, “Bernie’s not a Democrat.”)
“Over the next year, Obama, according to his closest advisers, will start to emerge with slightly bolder colors,” Politico reported. “The boldest might be riding into a battle unfolding on his own side, if he did lead a potential stop-Bernie campaign.”
While Obama’s aides dismissed Bernie’s prospects, Common Dreams notes that polls and donations paint a different picture: “A Morning Consult tracking poll released Monday showed Sanders has gained nine points in early primary and caucus states since October. Sanders has also jumped back into second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden in Real Clear Politics ‘ national polling average.”
Politico reports that while Bernie is the only candidate Obama would intervene to stop, he also has concerns about Sen. Warren:
“Back in early 2015, when Warren was considering running for president and started to excite progressives, Obama said privately that if Democrats rallied around her as their nominee it would be a repudiation of him-a clear sign that his economic decisions after the Great Recession had been seen as inadequate.”
Democratic Establishment’s Fear Of A Progressive
Former President Barack Obama has expressed solidarity with this line of thinking, warning against allowing “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds” or “the activist wing of our party” to embolden progressive policies.
“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.”
Critics argue the popularity of populist candidates like Trump, Warren, and Sanders represents voters’ dissatisfaction with the status quo.
“Since losing 2016, Dem elites have waged a prolonged effort to stop Bernie,” argued journalist Aaron Maté. “Bernie is the obvious answer to the neoliberal Clinton-Obama legacy voters rejected, & is an actual anti-establishment candidate, unlike Trump. They care more about their own power than unseating Trump’s.”
“This defense of the reigning economic order, originating with the donor class and media allies, with its effective abandonment of the vulnerable and disenfranchised, with nothing for those struggling to make it in a rigged economy, is a recipe for social and political unrest,” wrote journalist David Dayen. “From lofty heights, Obama has now become a dampener of hope, a barrier to change, and a threat to progress.”
Obama’s True Intentions?
Critics argue that Obama’s actions in office, as well as his actions since leaving, reveal his commitment to the elite rather than average people. His net worth multiplied by more than 30 from the beginning of his presidency to 2018, buoyed by $400,000 speaking fees to Wall Street bankers and lucrative Netflix deals that have enabled his recent purchase of a mansion in Martha’s Vineyard.
Others note that the former president’s electability advice ignores the fact that he ran as an outsider in 2008, promising ‘Change’ before stuffing his cabinet with Wall Street insiders, supporting predatory financiers, overseeing mass foreclosure fraud, expanding mass surveillance and unchecked imperialism, and brokering the most arms deals of any president since World War II.
In 2013, Obama joked, “I’m expecting a gold watch from Boeing at the end of my presidency because I know I’m on the list of top salesmen at Boeing,” for his efforts to promote the sale of the corporation’s products including the 737 Max 8 planes, which have since crashed multiple times from technical problems and killed hundreds of people.
As journalist Russell Mokhiber explained, the Obama administration at the time fast-tracked “a dangerous deregulatory process at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that effectively put the corporations in charge of the safety certification process,” allowing Boeing to verify its own faulty MCAS software. Whistleblowers have since disclosed that they failed to test the software.
Boeing later donated $10 million to the Obama presidential library and museum in Chicago. Earlier this year, “Obama dropped in to speak to a Boeing leadership retreat at a swank resort in Scottsdale, Arizona,” and “gratefully waived his $400,000 speaking fee,” notes Mokhiber.
“Maybe in his heart, Obama’s project was racial and economic justice, even if the evidence suggests otherwise,” wrote Steven W. Thrasher, who campaigned for Obama. “However, that was indisputably never the project of the people he hired.”
“Rahm Emanuel left the Obama White House to become mayor of Chicago, where he’s tried hard to bust the teachers’ unions and has presided over one of the most overtly racist police departments in the country,” continues Thrasher. “David Plouffe left for Uber, which is attacking the labor rights of taxi drivers the world over, while Robert Gibbs went to McDonald’s, which lobbies against an increase in the minimum wage. All of these things hurt the working poor, who are disproportionately non-white.”
The Obama Administration Revolving Door
Most egregiously of all, Thrasher argues, is former attorney general Eric Holder, who returned to his former law firm, Covington & Burling, after leaving the Justice Department. Covington has represented JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley, the same banks he neglected to prosecute after the subprime mortgage crisis.
Holder’s DOJ chief of staff Margaret Richardson and other Obama administration officials followed him through the revolving door to Covington, joining many DOJ alumni who have made the transition to the white-collar defense firm, representing the same corporations they previously regulated.
Holder had been considering a bid in the Democratic primary, but felt stifled by Biden having “the same set of people” as him, a reference to the individuals setting up super PACs for the former vice president. Lizza reports that the former Attorney General was “wounded” that Obama wasn’t “more supportive of his ambitions:”
“Holder couldn’t get in because Biden and Holder have the same set of people,” someone close to Holder reportedly told Politico. “Once Biden was getting in then Eric couldn’t get in. So that frustrated Holder. It blocked him. And Biden has turned out the way they all feared, and that’s really frustrating to Eric.”
Originally published at https://citizentruth.org on November 26, 2019.