ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Our view: Good point: Where is Obama?

Herald editorial board An op-ed in the Washington newspaper The Hill catches our attention. Written by former congressional aide Brent Budowsky, the piece wonders why President Barack Obama has not thrown his political weight behind Democrats run...

Herald editorial board

An op-ed in the Washington newspaper The Hill catches our attention. Written by former congressional aide Brent Budowsky, the piece wonders why President Barack Obama has not thrown his political weight behind Democrats running for high office.

Budowsky writes that Obama "has remained virtually silent and politically AWOL in the great battle for the future of America in the midterm elections."

Good point. Where is Obama?

Republicans have been active here in North Dakota. President Donald Trump came to the state last month to personally give his support to Republican Senate candidate Kevin Cramer. While he had the podium, he also endorsed Republican House candidate Kelly Armstrong.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump also visited last fall, speaking at an event in Mandan, N.D.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Fargo in March, as did Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke came to Grand Forks in April to speak at the state Republican Convention.

The only Democratic bigwig to visit has been former Vice President Joe Biden, who in April spoke at the Democratic Convention in Grand Forks.

And as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp finds herself the target of many Republican jabs, few famous Democrats have come to her aid. No Hillary Clinton. No Barack Obama.

Where are they?

Unless things change in the coming months, this is one more indication that the Democratic Party is struggling - not just in North Dakota, but in states like us, too. In the North Dakota Legislature, there are 119 Republicans and only 22 Democrats. We have a Republican governor and two Republicans in Congress. More than 60 percent of North Dakota voters chose Trump over Clinton in 2016.

It's about the same in South Dakota.

The point today isn't to promote the Democratic Party, but to say what we always have: That the best system has two strong parties, where issues can be fully debated, tweaked, passed or defeated through a true political process and not just because a super-majority party rammed it through. We would say the same if the tables were reversed.

ADVERTISEMENT

So as famous Republicans all but take up residence here in North Dakota during these important political months, the op-ed written by Budowsky in The Hill does raise a good point: Where the heck is Obama, and why hasn't he joined the fray?

Budowsky himself answers the question. He says Obama has been giving "lavishly paid speeches to big banks," yet the former president "refuses to join the epic battle." He urges Obama to "get off the bench."

We hadn't really thought about it until reading Budowsky's op-ed, but we agree-not about lavishly paid speeches, but about Obama's absence from the national stage. Perhaps his decision to steer clear of North Dakota is obvious: He hasn't fared well politically here.

If Democrats hope to retain or claim seats in Congress or even in state legislatures, it will take an all-hands-on-deck effort.

Related Topics: JOE BIDEN
What To Read Next