The man who was once the face of change in the Democratic Party has passed on the opportunity to support the woman often labeled as a rising Democratic star.
Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday released a list of 81 candidates he and his wife, Michelle, are endorsing in this fall’s midterm elections. The list includes those running for Congress and in state-level contests.
“I’m confident that, together, they’ll strengthen this country we love by restoring opportunity, repairing our alliances and standing in the world, and upholding our fundamental commitment to justice, fairness, responsibility, and the rule of law,” Obama said. “But first, they need our votes.”
He also tweeted the list.
“Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” he tweeted.
Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent: pic.twitter.com/gWzalQhFas
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 1, 2018
The list was lacking the name of New York City’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shocked Democratic circles by defeating long-time incumbent and Obama supporter Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary in June. Ocasio-Cortez also is a voice from the far left of the party, more aligned with the policies of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders than Obama.
One commentator said the omission was no accident.
“The Obama political machine doesn’t slip gears. The omission of Ocasio-Cortez was deliberate. Look closer at the list. The former president endorses two New Yorkers, Antonio Delgado, who is running for the House, and Anna Kaplan, who is running for the state legislature. It is telling that Obama would pin his reputation on a candidate for the New York state Senate while ignoring the supposed ‘future of the Democratic Party,'” wrote Philip Wegmann in the Washington Examiner.
“The snub is significant because Obama was more than just the leader of the Democratic Party. Obama was the vanguard of a new, more modern progressivism. And he was the poster child of that movement when Ocasio-Cortez was just freshman at Boston University and now it seems, while plenty have tried to compare her to him, Obama isn’t all that accepting of the radical new it girl,” Wegmann wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez’s supporters felt the burn of her omission.
Barack "Wall Street" Obama isn't endorsing congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I guess the consummate Corporate Democrat is showing his stripes. Obama can't stand progressive Social Democrats.
— Jesús MM Garza (@jmmgarza) August 1, 2018
Disappointing but not surprising to see @BarackObama endorse establishment Democratic candidates and snub progressive candidates like @Ocasio2018 and @JovankaBeckles. Time for new progressive voices in the Democratic Party. https://t.co/RIENdkduiQ
— David Campos (@DavidCamposSF) August 2, 2018
Among Obama’s endorsements were Gavin Newsom for governor of California, Stacey Abrams for governor of Georgia and Jacky Rosen, the Democrat running against incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada, Fox News reported. However, as noted by Real Clear Politics, he did not endorse anyone in the race for governor of New York, where Andrew Cuomo is seeking a third term and facing a Democratic challenge from “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon.
One GOP official said voters may not view Obama’s support as a positive.
“No one’s more to blame for how weak today’s Democratic Party is than President Obama,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens told Fox News.
“He cost them over 1,000 legislative seats, decimated their state parties and voters rejected his policies at the ballot box less than two years ago,” he said.
Obama said there would be a second round of endorsements before the November election.
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