Did Obama Come Too Early for America?

Former president Barack Obama walks by his presidential portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in February. (The Washington Post)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Did Obama Come Too Early for America? New Book Reveals He Wondered So

May 31st, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election President Barack Obama was said to have wondered aloud if he had come a bit too early for America.

In response his advisors sought to uplift his spirits emphasizing that the vast majority of young people understood him better than the older generation; this was according to a new book by Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes.

“His aides reassured him that he still would have won had he been able to run for another term and that the next generation had more in common with him than with Mr. Trump,” the New York Times notes citing Rhodes’ book. “Mr. Obama, the first black man elected president, did not seem convinced. “Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early,” he said.”

As the Washington Post’s Eugene Scott reminds us “Obama’s vision of America was rooted in uniting those who often process politics and policy differently because of their different identities.” Obama famously articulated this during his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech in Boston that catapulted him to international stardom.

However, Scott also points out: “More than a decade later, as the first black president was ending his historic time in the White House, Obama was faced with acknowledging something that perhaps he had not previously — America was far more divided than many people realized. It’s fair to say, more than a year after President Trump entered the White House, Obama was wrong about one thing: just how many people bought into his vision of an inclusive America where diversity is fundamental to the country’s — and the world’s — success. Very often after a racist, sexist or other discriminatory comment or incident captures national headlines, some politicians and other cultural influencers head to Twitter to say: “This is not who we are.” The frequency with which these episodes happen is proof that that’s not true.”

Scott adds:

Obama often called on Americans “to appeal … to our better angels.” This is a line he borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, who had to challenge Americans to do the same thing more than a century and a half ago. While Obama may have underestimated just how tribalistic the country had become during his presidency, and the role he may have played in it, the idea that most people bought into the vision of America that Trump promoted is also unsupported by the data. A majority of the electorate voted against Trump.”

Indeed per the officially-certified votes from the 2016 presidential race Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, but lost the Electoral College.

Below are links to both articles:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/trumps-election-made-obama-wonder-if-america-was-ready-to-move-forward-from-its-past/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/us/politics/obama-reaction-trump-election-benjamin-rhodes.html


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