President Obama spoke in a recent interview with his former senior adviser, David Axelrod, about his take on the future of the United States following Donald Trump’s shock election to the presidency a month and a half ago.
Trump, of course, on the surface at least, represents the bucking of the past eight years of Obama’s legacy. Trump built his presidential campaign on inciting hatred against minorities, while Obama built his campaign — twice — on inspiring minorities.
The two have been at even more direct odds with each other for years as Trump has led the so-called “birther” movement that sought to prove that Obama was not born in the United States and was thus unfit to serve as president.
Obama, while speaking to Axelrod, had harsh and yet forward-looking insight to offer, insisting that the vision that propelled him to the presidency eight years ago is not dead, even though Donald Trump is going to be the next president.
Obama said that he remains so confident in the vision that has underlined his presidential administration that he feels that he would have won should he have had the opportunity to run against Trump, saying:
‘I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it. I know that in conversations that I’ve had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one.’
He went on, further addressing possible criticisms of this position, saying:
‘In the wake of the election and Trump winning, a lot of people have suggested that somehow, it really was a fantasy. What I would argue is, is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open, and full of energy and dynamism.’
It is worth noting that yes, Trump won, but no, he did not capture the support of a majority of the United States, instead winning because of garnering a winning margin in the electoral college on account of winning a handful of key densely populated states.
Obama dropped a bit of his pre-election apocalyptic tone regarding Trump in his interview with Axelrod, while not backing down from his assertion that Trump is, in the short term, bad news for the United States.
Also discernible from Obama’s tone with Axelrod was a marked jab at Clinton. After all, Obama saying that he could have won against Trump not only fired at the president-elect, it also threw shade at Clinton, who — evidently — couldn’t have won.
According to Obama, Clinton and the Democratic Party interests who backed her didn’t subscribe to the same populist vision that defines Obama’s tenure as president.
On this subject, Obama added:
‘If you think you’re winning, then you have a tendency, just like in sports, maybe to play it safer… [A winning strategy] means caring about local races, state boards or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times editorial board will win the day.’
Featured Image via Leigh Vogel/WireImage.