Monday, January 9, 2017

The Obama Machine Revs Up

President Obama will not be going quietly into that good night, no matter how many folks on the right (and left) wish he would just disappear and quietly take up painting like Dubya did.  The Obama campaign infrastructure is evolving into a network to train the new Democratic party leaders of tomorrow, and their first order of business is to get the ball rolling for 2018 and beyond.

Already, former aides are revamping Organizing for Action, the group formed out of his old campaign structure. No longer about backing up Obama’s agenda in the White House, it will be a nexus for training activists and candidate recruitment, reshaped both by Trump’s win and some of the factors that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s loss. 
Though OFA has been mostly quiet over the last two months and made no formal announcements, its Chicago headquarters has been filling up with new hires, including several old campaign aides, who are planning to focus on the mechanics of campaigns, from running Obama-style persuasion programs, integrating data and running paid canvassing operations. Though the first goal is designing the program for what they’ll aim to make hundreds of workshops nationwide, there’s already talk moving toward endorsing candidates
And Obama has identified a few issues that would draw him out directly: a Muslim ban, though he still considers the chances of that remote, or moves that would cut back on the protections he put in place for the children, known as “dreamers,” who were brought to the country illegally as minors and who’ve been living here since. 
“If he deports thousands of kids,” Obama has said several times in private meetings of late, according to people present, “I don’t know that I can sit on the sidelines.” 
Also potentially on the list: a move by Trump to unravel the Iran deal or the Paris climate accord, or the shape of an Obamacare repeal and replacement. 
“If things rise to the level where it’s a statement of who we are as a people and as a country, things that are important to him, then depending on the circumstances he will engage and he will talk,” said one of the people familiar with thinking about the post-presidency. “But this is now the moment where the next generation of Democratic or progressive leaders steps up and engages in the political fight, however defined and broadened.”

This is absolutely the right move here by President Obama and the Democrats.  Rather than crawl home and lick their wounds, or worse, approving Trump's agenda through "bipartisan cooperation", he's standing up to organize and to fight back.

I'd love to see workshops here in Northern Kentucky.  Democrats have gotten pummeled here, and it would be excellent to have some organizing resources to turn to.  Matt Bevin is expected to today wipe out the Bluegrass State's long union tradition with a few strokes of his pen.  Sign me up to start fighting back.

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