Accuracy in Media

Politico published an article which inferred that part of former President Barack Obama’s legacy could be undone by the Democratic National Committee. The article, headlined, “Democrats disavow Obama’s creation of rival political group,” details how Obama’s populism hindered the national Democratic Party during his presidency and after he left the White House.

The reporters who penned the article pointed out that “[t]o this day, many Democratic Party officials still fume about Barack Obama’s decision to create his own political group outside of the Democratic Party, Organizing for Action.” A state-level Democratic Party committee, the Association of State Democratic Committees, is pushing for each 2020 presidential candidate to not create another version of Obama’s Organizing for Action. Politico said that it is “an enormous change for the party” because Obama’s legacy was to decentralize power from the national party to OFA and his presidency. The pledge was signed by Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and sixteen other candidates in the primary field.

According to party sources cited in the article, OFA’s rise pitted OFA against the Democratic Party and some state party leaders blamed OFA “for Democrats’ losses at the gubernatorial and statehouse level” during the Obama presidency. Although Sanders signed the pledge, his own group, Our Revolution, appears to mimic OFA and it is “a point of contention” between the Democratic Party and Sanders’s campaign.

The article hinted at how the party has essentially made part of Obama’s legacy extinct. OFA was a significant political achievement to create a parallel political apparatus outside of the Democratic Party, and its time may have come to an end if the Democratic Party has its say. Other candidates have tried to mimic OFA, such as Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution organization, but the party is not receptive of these kinds of groups going forward.

It is time to mark OFA’s demise, at least in the eyes of the DNC, as another Obama legacy dismantled by changing politics and the passage of time. But other than Politico, no other mainstream media outlet will admit this much: Obama’s legacy has not lasted as long as they hoped.

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