Should Barack Obama be doing more to fight Trump?
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Should Barack Obama be doing more to fight Trump?

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Barack Obama is hitting the campaign trail for the midterms, starting with a speech at the University of Illinois. In his speech, he called out President Donald Trump for stoking resentments and "appealing to tribe." Many are calling for Obama to take a more public role in the Democratic Party and push back against Donald Trump and his policies. Yet, the former president has cited precedent and has been more concerned with maintaining a peaceful transition of power, preferring instead to work behind the scenes. What do you think?

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The speech marked the first time the former president directly commented on Donald Trump and his policies. Per Politico:

There was nothing subtle about the speech. Vote, and vote for Democrats, Obama said, several times. Trump’s policies on everything from the environment to veterans’ affairs are morally wrong, and a mismanagement of government.
“Even if you don’t agree with me or Democrats on policy, even if you agree with more libertarian economic views, even if you are an evangelical and the position on social issues is a bridge too far,” Obama said. “I’m here to tell you that you should still be concerned and should still want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government. It should not be Democratic or Republican. It should not be partisan to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents.”
He went on: Everyone in the country, he said, should be able to agree that journalists aren’t the enemy of the people, that people shouldn’t be persecuted because of what they look like, that everyone should be able to stand up to Nazi sympathizers.
“We are Americans,” Obama said. 

However. those close to Obama say his silence is calculated and he believes, up until now, he has served the country best from behind the scenes.

"He is not going to engage in the daily 24-hour scrum," says Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama's closest friends and advisers. "Let's face it, he could comment all day long every day and it probably still wouldn't be enough to make people feel O.K. given everything that's going on in the country today."
Jarrett says that of course Obama wishes he had turned the presidential baton over to a "better steward," as she puts it. But, she says, Obama believes that constantly taking Trump on would inevitably turn him into a Republican target, and distract attention from the issues.
What's more, Jarrett says, "It's really his job to make sure that [his] voice is not diluted by commenting on every single thing that happens. Is he disturbed about the impact many of these reversals are having on people's lives? Profoundly."
Another close confidant, the Obama Foundation's board chairman Martin Nesbitt, says that Obama is carefully calibrating how he engages: "He understands that his voice can suck a lot of oxygen out of the room," Nesbitt says, "He needs to give space to the next generation of progressive leadership to take the reins of the party and move it along in the right direction."

Yet. Obama has an ability to motivate voters in a way few politicians do, something the Democratic Party desperately needs right now. 

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