As President Donald Trump plans to continue crisscrossing the nation to support Republicans ahead of November’s midterms, his predecessor is gearing up to hit the campaign trail on behalf of Democratic candidates.
Sources close to former President Barack Obama confirmed he is preparing to amplify his public image with a series of campaign stops in hopes of turning some key races in his party’s favor, according to the U.K. Guardian.
He is expected to begin the tour in his home state with a speech at the University of Illinois this week at an event during which he will receive an ethics in government award from the school.
The more active voter-turnout measure comes weeks after Obama unveiled his first list of endorsements, which included dozens of candidates vying for state and federal offices.
One Obama spokesperson indicated that the address will outline much of the mission he hopes to carry out in the weeks ahead of the midterms.
“He will make a pointed case in his speech on Friday, and on the trail this fall, that this moment in our country is too perilous for Democratic voters to sit out,” Katie Hill said.
According to The Hill, the former president is expected to ramp up his opposition to Trump, though it is unclear how directly. Since leaving office, Obama has referenced his dissatisfaction with the current political climate and specific policies without mentioning his successor by name.
“He will echo his call to reject the rising strain of authoritarian politics and policies,” Hill said.
She said Obama’s message will also include a caution against falling victim to “our own apathy by refusing to do the most fundamental thing demanded of us as citizens: vote.”
While an array of new faces have emerged during the 2018 midterm cycle, some party insiders say it is important to have a familiar figure share Democratic ideals on the election trail.
“I think he still has the ability to inspire millions of Americans,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley said of Obama. “He’s an effective orator and admired by many.”
Even more pragmatically, he argued that Obama fit the bill in large part due to a currently rudderless party.
“We as a party have a problem,” Manley said. “We don’t have a leader of the party right now.”
Obama, he added, “is about as close as it comes.”
The former first lady is not sitting the election out, either.
As NBC News reported, Michelle Obama is set to appear at rallies in Las Vegas and Miami later this month. She also has a new memoir set to be released a week after the midterm elections.
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