Almost eight years after he was last on the ballot, Barack Obama is emerging as a central figure in the 2020 presidential election.
Democrats are eagerly embracing Mr. Obama as the political wingman for Biden, who spent two terms by his side as vice president. Mr. Obama remains the party’s most famous figure, particularly with black voters and younger Democrats. Biden’s presidential campaign’s plan is to make him more visible in the coming months.
For President Donald Trump, this means an opportunity to direct the spotlight on one of his favorite political foils. Recently, Trump and his allies have aggressively floated conspiracy theories about Obama planted to fire up the conservative base of the president.
“Partisans on both sides want to make this about Obama,” Ned Price said, who served as the spokesperson for Obama’s White House National Security Council.
The revival of political focus on Obama sets the stage for an election about the nation’s future that will also be based on its past. As Biden looks to Obama for validation, he’s also trying to restore some of the former president’s legacy, which had been systematically dismantled by Trump.
However, Trump’s anti-Obama push sometimes takes on a deeper and more conspiratorial tone that goes far beyond differences in America’s role in the world and health care policy. His present focus is on the actions Obama, Biden, and their national security advisers as they viewed intelligence reports about Michael Flynn. Mr. Flynn had a short-lived stint as Trump’s national security adviser before being fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.