Here’s proof Obama’s endorsement is now meaningless
Republican Daniel Rickenmann is the new mayor of Columbia, South Carolina. His victory in the heart of deep blue Richland County comes just months after President Joe Biden won the city with with 71% of the vote. Rickenmann’s victory also comes after his opponent was endorsed by multiple major-league Democrats, including even former President Barack Obama.
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There was a time when an endorsement from Obama was seen as a major boon to Democratic hopefuls. As it turns out, though, Obama’s endorsements have always been more bark than bite.
In 2016, for example, when Obama endorsed more than 150 candidates across 20 states, the moment was hailed by some in the press as an historic occasion. The effort was described by Politico as “an unprecedented engagement all the way down-ballot for any president.” After all, until that moment, Obama’s personal stamp of approval was a relatively rare thing.
Of the 161 candidates he endorsed that year, 74 would go on to lose their elections.
The dirty secret, though, is that the former president’s endorsement has never been all that powerful.
Since 2014, Obama had endorsed 786 candidates, according to Ballotpedia. Of those 786, 337 have lost.
The numbers themselves may not mean too much — perhaps Obama got behind a bunch of longshots. But consider that a lot of these races were gimmees for Democrats, and they lost in spite of Obama’s active involvement.
For example, among Obama’s highest-profile endorsees in 2014 were Mike Michaud, the Democratic nominee for governor of Maine, and Anthony Brown, the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland. Somehow, Democrats managed to lose both of those races in very Blue states.
All the way back in 2009, Obama endorsed and campaigned with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Incredibly, Corzine lost. This year, Obama endorsed and campaigned for former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia — and well, we all know what happened to him.
And of course Hillary Clinton also managed to lose in 2016 with Obama’s blessing.
Obama once claimed he could make the oceans stop rising. Now he can’t even deliver a two-thirds Democratic city for the Democrat.