Try as he might, President Trump has not been able to completely kill the legacy of Barack Obama, according to the mainstream media.
He has pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Climate Accords on global warming and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – all Obama foreign policy projects.
He has not completely killed Obamacare, but he has removed the individual mandate, ended the practice of reimbursing insurance companies that lose money participating in the federal exchanges and rolled back thousands of Obama-era regulations.
But now, the mainstream media seems to be fighting back. A recent example came Friday when the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story entitled, “Cory Booker, the 2020 race and Obama’s legacy,” by Julian Zelizer.
“Sen. Cory Booker’s announcement last Friday that he will run for president is not only another sign of the historic diversity of the Democratic Party as it heads into the 2020 presidential primaries. It is a demonstration of the power of former President Barack Obama’s legacy in American politics,” Zelizer wrote in the lead.
The next two paragraphs retell the tale of Obama’s inauguration night, when there were ‘celebrations all over the country among Americans who sensed the significance of the moment. A nation born at a time of slavery had just elected an African-American to the highest position of power.” More than two-thirds of the country saw the election as one of the top three moments of race relations in America in the last 100 years.
The euphoria did not last, Zelizer wrote, because a “hard-edged skepticism” took its place. Certain events “can’t be forgotten – like a series of controversial police shootings of African-American men, a racist ‘birther’ movement that gained airtime in the national media falsely questioning Obama’s legitimacy, the election of Donald Trump, as well as the horror of neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville chanting vile anti-Semitic and racist comments.”
And by the time the midterms of 2018 rolled around and Trump had “unleashed his full-throated … campaign message … that stoked nativist fears about a caravan of migrants trying to ‘invade’ the U.S., Obama’s presidential election seemed a world away.”
But it’s better now. We’re starting to “witness its impact on mainstream party politics,” Zelizer wrote of Obama’s legacy. “The Democratic primaries are already showing how his success transformed the political playing field.”
It is “stunning” to behold the “diversity of Democrats who are running or considering running the primaries,” Zelizer noted. There are four women – including one who is African-American and another who is Hindu.
One is a gay man, another the son of Taiwanese immigrants (Andrew Yang), a Latino who is the son of immigrants (Julian Castro) and, finally, Booker.
“This year’s presidential primaries add to the historic events in 2016 when a female candidate, Hillary Clinton – who secured the nomination – faced off against Bernie Sanders, a Jewish American.”
And it’s not just diversity at the presidential level, there also are all those new women and people of color in Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY.
She “comes from a Puerto Rican family and is the youngest women ever elected to Congress,” Zelizer pointed out. “In her first few weeks, she shook up Washington with talk of progressive taxation and a Green New Deal. Many Republicans have not liked the fact that when they criticize her, she hits back hard.”
None of these hard-hitting rejoinders were offered as examples, and it is hard to find instances of her effectively countering any of the criticisms leveled against her.
There is no guarantee these diverse candidates will be any more successful in moving the political ball than their predecessors, Zelizer acknowledged, “because of the social biases that are still deeply rooted in our country over matters such as race and gender.
“Yet it would be an equally bad mistake to ignore the reality that this is not your grandfather’s Democratic Party anymore. In fact, it is Obama’s party.”