Most Democrats have embraced Obama's re-emergence after a break after his book tour. Though his presence raises questions regarding Biden's ability to lead the party as infighting threatens to derail his priorities, including climate action, in Congress.
According to political analyst Dan Schnur, top Democrats have realized they do not have the luxury of worrying about Biden's feelings if his old boss overshadows him on the campaign trail.
"Obama is the most popular politician in the country right now, and any Democratic candidate who is relying on support from swing voters needs him. This is what's happening in Virginia right now, but next year you'll see Obama campaigning in these key districts in addition to, or instead of, Biden," the Republican-turned-independent, now at the University of California, announced.
The former president further has a cachet with climate activists, and others Biden has had trouble keeping motivated. Obama is one of many U.S. officials being dispatched to Glasgow in a demonstration to the world that the nation can spearhead the matter, notwithstanding Democratic bickering over Biden's $2 trillion social welfare and climate spending package. Though Obama's schedule, which includes meeting "with young activists engaged in the climate fight" and delivering comments "putting the threat of climate change in broader context," adds credibility to the U.S. case and papers over Biden's weaknesses with young people. International climate envoy John Kerry conceded this week, for example, that Biden and congressional Democrats' inaction "hurts" them with their foreign counterparts.
One month after breaking ground at his presidential library site in Chicago, Democratic gubernatorial nominees Terry McAuliffe of Virginia and Phil Murphy of New Jersey declared this week that Obama would canvass with them before their off-year Nov. 2 elections. Obama will then fly off to Scotland for the United Nations' 26th climate summit five years after his signature environmental agreement, the Paris accord, went into effect.
Obama is stumping with McAuliffe because "he is the only candidate in this race that will lead the Commonwealth out of this pandemic and keep Virginia's economy strong," the invitation to their Oct. 23 Richmond rally reads. Though it was circulated one week after McAuliffe told what he thought was a private video teleconference that Biden "is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through." After Biden swept Virginia less than a year ago, McAuliffe's closer-than-expected contest against Republican Glenn Youngkin has Democrats rattled about the 2022 midterm elections.