Democratic strategists looking to stave off major losses in the upcoming midterm elections have devised a precise and targeted role for President Obama: recapturing the enthusiasm he generated as a fresh-faced candidate vying to becoming the nation’s first black president.
The assignment comes midway into Obama’s first term and at a point when his job approval rating has dwindled. Democrats eager to preserve their majority in Congress have faced a delicate dilemma in deciding how to deploy the president. Not every House Democrat wants him to campaign in his or her district, for fear of alienating independents who’ve grown disenchanted with Washington.
The approach reflects the president’s diminished influence with many independents. But if Obama succeeds in re-energizing a Democratic base that has grown apathetic since his victory in 2008, he could boost turnout this November and help stem his party’s expected losses.