The former president didn’t have much success helping other Democrats get elected in 2010 or ’14.
Barack Obama’s return to the campaign trail may be just what Republicans need with eight weeks left until the midterm elections.
Democrats are hoping the former president can energize voter blocs that didn’t support Hillary Clinton in 2016. He will appear in campaign videos, lend his name to fundraising mailers, and give stump speeches. For a taste of what’s to come, on Friday Mr. Obama called the Trump administration “a threat to democracy” and accused President Trump of “capitalizing on resentment” and pandering to white supremacists. Even the Washington press corps noted his brazenness. “The sight of a former president going directly after his successor,” reported the Hill newspaper, “was like nothing previously seen in modern political history.”
Mr. Obama is perpetuating the same political division he denounces, and it’s possible that such rhetoric will have the intended effect of jazzing up Democratic voters down the stretch. But the potential danger for Democratic candidates is that Mr. Obama’s prominent campaign presence may also rile up an even larger number of Trump supporters.
It’s still anyone’s guess whether Mr. Trump can convince members of his base to go to the polls and pull the lever for Republicans nationwide when he’s not on the ballot. What we do know is that Mr. Obama has been recruited to do something he was never that good at while president: getting other Democrats elected.