Less than six months after leaving office, former president Barack Obama will formally reenter the political arena this week to appear at a fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee this Thursday.
Obama will headline the closed-door event in Washington, D.C., which is expected to include a few dozen people and address ways that the Democratic Party might regain its footing.
According to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, Obama does not want to cast “a long shadow,” but the former president remains a central figure in the party that has not established a set strategy to combat President Trump.
Perez claims some Democrats have urged Obama recently to become involved with specific issues, but the former president wants instead to “build the bench” for the party. Under Obama, Democrats suffered a greater loss of power than under any other two-term president since World War II.
Perez says Obama is getting involved “because tomorrow’s president is today’s state senator, and he knows that very personally.” He continued, “When you lose 900 state legislative seats, those are people who could have been the next governors and senators and Cabinet positions, and that is something that he’s very committed to.”
Kelly Ward, executive director of the NDRC, declined to report how much the fundraiser is expected to bring in. Ward asserted that Obama “still has such a microphone” to convince donors to invest in state-level races and assist in “shining a light” on redistricting. The NDRC seeks to influence how state and federal legislative districts are drawn and aims to create “a centralized, strategic hub for a comprehensive redistricting strategy,” Ward said.
Also scheduled to appear at the fundraiser are the group’s chairman, former U.S. attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Democrat’s efforts to regain ground will be hindered by the fact that “people in the middle think they are out of touch with the problems of ordinary Americans,” according to Corry Bliss, the Congressional Leadership Fund executive director whose super PAC is affiliated with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
“It’s a brand that is beholden to Nancy Pelosi and liberal, Left Coast elitism,” Bliss said. “The Democrats couldn’t find real America with Nancy Pelosi’s chauffeur and a map.”
Bliss noted that the Republican Party already has multiple groups working on redistricting, “and I am confident they will be well funded and well run.”
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