As President Barack Obama’s legendary presidency wraps up, questions surround what Obama’s next steps will be. He could retire and fade into obscurity and become a painter. Or, he could give speeches for a price. There is always the option of supporting First Lady Michelle Obama in her own political career (which is what liberals are hoping for). However, Obama spoke with NPR in an interview last week and gave viewers an idea of his future plans.
In the interview, Obama acknowledged the fall of the Democratic Party, his own responsibility in that failure, and the issues within our political system that put a President Donald J. Trump in the White House. He noted that Democrats tend to focus on the bigger picture rather than starting small at the local level, allowing Republicans to take hold locally.
‘We’ve ceded too much territory. One of the big suggestions that I have for Democrats as I leave, and something that, you know, I have some ideas about is, how do we do more of that ground-up building?’
POLITICO noted that Obama had that small-town rural support in his presidential bids as they were familiar with him from his senate bid in Illinois. Obama acknowledged that many Democrats don’t have that benefit and have since “lost touch” with the rural voters.
When asked what he thought about people wanting Trump as their president, he described the “political landscape” as scrambled.
’We know that there are a substantial number of voters out there who not only voted for me twice but currently support me who also voted for Donald Trump.
So, I think we have a scrambled political landscape right now. There are some things that we know are a challenge for Democrats – structural problems. For example, population distribution, oftentimes younger voters, minority voters, Democratic voters, are clustered in urban areas.’
He also acknowledged the fact that Democratic voters tend to live on the coast and with representatives only traveling to those urban areas, they ignore the rest of the state in smaller towns. Indeed, a good example of this was Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s last campaign rallies the week before the election. Clinton’s campaign held star-studded events as a last effort to drum up support and enthusiasm for voters. Trump, however, held rallies that featured mostly him and his economic message (albeit misguided) that resounded with so many voters who felt ignored.
With that, Obama said he wasn’t interested in getting into the “nuts and bolts,” but he definitely wanted to offer his wisdom to a future generation of Democratic politicians.
‘Well, I’m less likely to get involved in all the nuts and bolts of electioneering. In that realm, I’m much more likely to just give advice. What I am interested in is just developing a whole new generation of talent. That’s something that I think I can do well, I think Michelle can do well. That’s part of what makes me optimistic about our future because I know those young people are out there ready to lead, and when they start moving into more and more positions of authority, then I think the issues that I care most deeply about are going to be well served.’
He has promised Michelle a vacation though, as he should, and says he plans to get some sleep. He also wants to spend time with his daughters before they are off to college.
’Well, I think it’s appropriate for me to give advice because I need some sleep. And I’ve promised Michelle a nice vacation. My girls are getting old enough now where I’m clinging to those very last moments before they are out of the house.’
You can watch the entire interview with NPR below.
Featured image via Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla