What's the deal with Obama's endorsements?
Obama has been notably absent for a while now, but this summer he stepped back into the spotlight to make a total of 81 endorsements in the upcoming midterm elections. Of those 81, more than half (48!) are for women.
Start at the beginning. What are endorsements?
A political endorsement is when a person publicly declares his/her support for a candidate.
Why do they matter?
Because...peer pressure! Voters are more likely to vote for specific candidates or causes if they know somebody they trust supports them too. They can also increase a candidate's credibility when they come from a trusted source like our favorite #cooldad, Obama. Big endorsements are particularly helpful during primaries and elections where candidates with similar platforms are running in the same district. Voters can use endorsements to differentiate between candidates that, on the surface, seem similar.
Who were some candidates Obama endorsed?
- Former member of the Georgia House of Representatives running to be Governor of Georgia. She'd be the first female African-American governor in the country (squeeeeee!).
- Abrams notably (and successfully!) fought a GOP-led redistricting plan in 2011 that would have seen Democrats lose 6 seats in the state House.
- Abrams is facing an uphill battle. Republicans have held control of the Georgia State House since 2004, which is why Obama's endorsement is crucial to rallying Democratic support.
- Running against 6-time Republican incumbent Peter Roskam in Illinois' 6th Congressional District.
- Casten beat our six other Democrats in the primaries back in March.
- This seat has been red since the 1970s, but Roskam is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House. His district went for Clinton by a slim margin in 2016.
- Elected to Congress in 2017 to represent Nevada's 3rd Congressional district. She's now running for Senate against GOP incumbent Dean Heller.
- Dean Heller won by one single solitary point in 2012, and is the only Republican in the Senate from a state won by Hillary Clinton. Democrats consider this seat to be in play.
- Running for the House of Representatives in California's 48th Congressional District, which is located in historically conservative Orange County in SoCal.
- The incumbent in this race, the GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, is wrapped up in the #TrumpRussia scandal and considered vulnerable.
- This district voted for Romney in 2012, but voted for Clinton in 2016, so it's very much in play.
Who didn't Obama endorse?
There were a couple of notable absences among Obama's endorsements:
- Dianne Feinstein: Though he endorsed her back in May, Obama's list did not include California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein on his list this time. Feinstein is running against another Democrat in November and has clashed with Democratic Party leaders in California, who decided to back her opponent, the lesser-known State Sen. Kevin de Leon.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Obama's list also did not include the rising star of the Democratic party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Ocasio-Cortez has been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the future of the party after her shocking victory against longtime Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic congressional primaries back in June. the self-declared Democratic Socialist, who also worked on Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign, ran on a platform that puts her far to the left of many establishment Democrats.