2020 Democrats Are Starting to Turn Obama’s Legacy Against Biden

Former Vice President Joe Biden has used Barack Obama’s beloved status among Democratic voters to insulate him from criticism from the massive field of candidates jockeying to be the next president.

But in recent weeks, the Democratic frontrunner has had that legacy used against him, with his competitors pointing the to shortcomings of the last Democratic administration as evidence that Biden’s not up to the task of leading the next one.

“Barack Obama, personally, is incredibly popular among Democratic primary voters,” Karthik Ganapathy, a progressive consultant now running his own firm, told The Daily Beast. “And also at the same time, there’s a growing recognition that income and wealth inequality got worse under his eight years, the climate crisis got worse during his eight years, deportations went up during his time in office, and so on.”

The idea that the Obama legacy would be anything other than a massive positive for Biden as he navigates the 2020 Democratic party has been treated as indisputable within Democratic circles. And for good reason. A CNN poll taken in early 2018 found that he had a 97 percent favorable rating among Democrats.

For a while, fellow Democrats running for the White House seemed content to simply avoid challenging the former VP as he repeatedly referenced his time in the Obama administration when touting his work on health care and beating back attacks over his record on race relations.

But that hesitancy has softened in recent weeks. On issues stemming from immigration to health care and foreign policy, the 2020 candidates have been increasingly critical in their public assessments of the Obama administration. And they’ve used opportunities from the debate stage to candidate forums to try and turn Biden’s ties to the former president from an overwhelming asset into something more complicated.

Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign has used Obama’s own words to challenge Biden’s notion that Obamacare simply needs to be built upon. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) challenged Biden over the Obama administration’s deportation policies. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) backed off support for the Obama administration’s 2015 Iran nuclear deal as originally written. And Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) has attacked Biden for a naivete about dealing with Republicans—in what has been interpreted as an implicit rebuke of Obama’s own failure to fully grasp GOP recalcitrance.

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Source: The Daily Beast