Love him or hate him its undeniable that for over a decade previous two-term president Barrack Obama was the Rockstar of the left.
A historically popular president who’s undeniably savvy speaking skills regularly roused crowds towards his cause, Obama was the face of the Democrat party for his two terms as well as an extremely vocal advocate against the rise of Donald Trump; famously harkening the 2016 election as a “referendum on his legacy.”
But if the election of Donald Trump was indeed such a referendum, it has only served to cast shadows on Obama’s own presidential impact. Not only as his policies and treaties are repealed and defanged regularly but as his party increasingly polarizes; embracing traditionally shunned ‘radicals’ like Elizabeth Warren, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, and self-proclaimed Democratic-socialist Bernie Sanders.
As the left leans further and further away from the center as it engages with the Trump administration’s own distinctly polarizing brand of populism Obama’s previously popular political brand has begun to seem a little well, conservative, to both sides of the aisle. Fox reports,
“President Obama sounded like a conservative Tuesday at the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Summitt in Oakland, Calif., when he addressed hundreds of young men of color alongside basketball superstar Steph Curry.
Obama talked to the young men about the virtues of monogamy. He shared his personal experiences growing up without a dad. He also offered a helpful, traditional, definition of manhood: “being responsible, working hard, being kind, respectful, compassionate.”
When identifying where messages that run contrary to his own come from, Obama decried hip-hop’s negative influence.
“A lot of hip-hop and rap music is built around me showing how I got more money than you, I can disrespect you and you can’t do nothing about it, I’m going to talk about you and punk you,” Obama said. In addition, he criticized the objectification of women and sexual immorality promoted by hip-hop.”
This isn’t just a phenomenon being noted on traditionally conservative leaning news pages though. With years of Trump following a – apparently failed – legacy left behind by Obama those on the Left have begun to question whether the two-term president’s general tendency towards pragmatic moderate positions was, in fact, the best use of their 8 years in the Oval Office.
More focally, some of the more prominently left of center outlets have begun to overtly lament what they now have determined – with hindsight tinted by Trump – that Obama, in fact, *failed* to seize on the perceived opportunity to bring about a radical leftist political revolution; much like the one the likes of Ocasio-Cortez are currently attempting to bring forward via the ‘Green New Deal’. Take the Vanity Fair Piece conveniently titled ‘Hope vs. Change: Why Some Democrats are Turning on Obama’s Legacy’ that exclaims,
“Obama was a visionary who gave us the Affordable Care Act, DACA, and the Paris deal, but many of the country’s most ominous trends also proceeded apace under his watch. Now, in advance of 2020, a new generation of Democratic candidates is reconsidering his history—perhaps in regard to how it aids their prospects.”
The reality is American politics have become hyper-partisan, and with that has come a distinct shift of political platforms towards an increasingly partisan nature. In the era of walls against Mexico and new New Deals Obama’s tendency towards a softer left approach isn’t as appealing as it used to be.
Obama might have once been a Rockstar, but his sound just isn’t what the ‘cool’ left-leaning kids want these days. That would probably be the hip-hop and rap he’s now decrying…