Barack Obama did the impossible in the 2008’s presidential campaign. He turned out voters in large numbers to create a “Blue Wall” with decisive wins across Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
14 years later, Democrats want to capture any sliver of Obama magic if the U.S. Senate is held on Nov. 8. They also need to retain certain governorships in battlegrounds in Democratic hands.
Sachin Chheda (a Wisconsin-based Democratic strategist) stated that Barack Obama remains the most beloved figure in the Democratic Party and the most credible messenger at the moment, particularly when trying to remind base Democratic voters about the stakes in this election.
Saturday’s performance by the ex-president was a mix of statesman and stand-up comedian. He criticized Republicans for their extremism and inconsistencies.
Many people rushed to North Division High School, Milwaukee, in hopes of seeing Obama, who was rallying for all the candidates in the state, including the marquee races: Mandela Barnes for Senate, and Governor. Tony Evers’ reelection.
He criticized Ron Johnson, Wisconsin GOP Senator, for giving tax breaks to donors. At the same time, he said that Medicare and Social Security funding should all be reviewed every year.
Obama criticized Johnson for helping to bring tax breaks for private aircraft. He noted that his grown children have “not one, but two, but three private airplanes – carpooling was not an alternative,” and laughed.
The crowd cheered and whistled, and Johnson became more passionate, shouting that Johnson understood the tax benefits for private jets better than he understood that seniors who have worked their entire lives can retire with dignity, respect, and pride.
Obama also attacked Republicans in Detroit and claimed that the party failed to uphold basic democratic standards. Obama was once interrupted by a protester, who tried to shout over him.
“Look, listen — hey! Hold on, hold onto — hold on, hold tight — wait a minute! “This is — listen everyone — pay attention,” Obama told the protester. “This is not only an example of what I am talking about but also an example of how we can get distracted… We lose sight of what’s important.
Obama spoke in both Wisconsin and Michigan about reproductive rights for women.
“In Michigan, who will stand up for your freedom?” Are there a few Republican judges and politicians who believe they have the right to make decisions about when you start a family, how many children you have, what you marry, and who you love? Are leaders like Gretchen Whitmer arguing that every American should have the right to make their own decisions, and not Washington politicians?
Tudor Dixon, a Republican challenger to the Michigan governor’s seat, is challenging him for re-election.
Obama won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2008, and 2012 and then Donald Trump took those same states in 2016. The states were reclaimed by President Joe Biden in 2020. However, it was by the smallest margins. For example, Wisconsin won by less than one percent. Biden is still struggling with lackluster favorability, as shown by his absence from battlegrounds such as Wisconsin.
If Republicans are elected to power in key states, especially if election results are in doubt, then the “Blue Wall” could be a major factor in a 2022 presidential race.
Charles Franklin, Marquette Law School poll chief, stated that only two counties switched to Trump after Trump in 2016, Sauk or Door. “Turnout is low in Milwaukee during the midterms, so Democrats are keen to maximize it. This is why Obama’s visit.”
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler reminded Saturday’s crowd at the Milwaukee high school to keep in mind that only four of the six previous presidential elections were down to less than one percentage point.
Wikler stated, “The other two were Obama Landslides,” to an enthusiastic crowd. These elections are tied. The race for the governor is tied. The race for attorney general is tied. The Senate race is tied. This means you have the potential to tip the balance.
Barnes stated that watching Obama, a former state senator from Illinois, give a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention 2004 in 2004 was a turning point in his life.
Barnes stated, “Seeing Barack Obama on stage inspired me and it made it clear that maybe if we worked hard enough, we can make a difference.”
On Saturday, Josh Kaul, a Democrat, and Wisconsin Attorney General stated that even though Obama is not on the Nov. 8 ballot, issues and policies he fought to get, such as health care, will still be part of the final election questions Wisconsin voters will answer.
Kaul stated, “If Wisconsinites vote for this election, we win.”