Symbols fade with time. In 2008, when Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency, attempting to become the first black man to hold the the nation's highest office, his run was "historic" and "generations in the making." It was, by most accounts, a big win for the Democratic party, which had lost ground and political leverage during the Bush years. And though Obama endured a rocky first term, his run for re-election in 2012 was again seen as a sign of hope that America would continue to move forward.
In 2008 and 2012, he had the support of the public and his party. Now? Not so much.
With midterm elections just weeks away—a pivotal 21 Democratic seats are up for grabs in the Senate where Republicans have a chance to regain control—it seems the president has become something of a political outcast from his own party.
Obama, according to certain political analysts and elected officials, is now a liability to many of the Democrats currently running for office in conservative-leaning states. Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and other states want nothing to do with him. Obama's most recent approval rating barely cracks 40 percent—not truly terrible, but below average for U.S. presidents. So what gives?
As Jonathan Martin reports in the New York Times: "Some leading Democrats say it would be better for him to make the case for the party's economic policies safely away from the most crucial races—as he did last week in Illinois."
For now, Obama will focus on hosting private dinners, speaking on economic growth policies, and fundraising for the party.
"It's not so important where he says it—it's what he says," Charles Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York, told the Times.
Translation: Obama will offer support in private that will help frame the party's agenda and maybe give a speech or two. But, you know, just not in public with any Democratic officials running for office.
"Every campaign has got to figure out—and this is true in this election, and it's going to be true for every election going forward for Democrats for as far as the eye can see—is which Democrats are only going to be able to win if they turn out enough of the Obama coalition, whether we're in a midterm or a presidential," Dan Pfeiffer, a senior advisor to the president, told the Times. "And the campaigns and the candidates are working through how best to go about doing that."
There is a silver lining to all of this, however. With Obama not campaigning on behalf of party members, he now has more time to spend with Michelle and the girls.
[Image via Getty]