Barack Obama Warns 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Not To Veer Too Far Left

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Former United States President Barack Obama has been careful to avoid getting involved in the 2020 presidential race thus far and has yet to throw his support behind a Democratic contender. This hands-off approach was broken Friday when he spoke to a room of wealthy liberal donors at the annual meeting of the Democracy Alliance. There, he warned Democratic presidential candidates not to veer too far left with their policy proposals, The New York Times reports.

Obama spoke about his 16-month battle with Hillary Clinton in 2008 and said he is “confident” that the candidate that survives the “robust primary” will be adequately tested. But the 58-year-old politician also touched on the approaches to healthcare and immigration expressed by some candidates, suggesting they might be out of touch with public opinion.

The former president suggested that the voter base that would offer support to a Democratic candidate does not have the same views as “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds” or “the activist wing of our party.”

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality. The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”

Obama has previously expressed interest in former Representative Beto O’Rourke, who is no longer in the primary, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Per Slate, Obama previously expressed concern about the progressive wing of the Democratic Party back in April, suggesting that the “rigidity” of its members could end up hurting the party. He described this unyielding commitment as potentially creating a “circular firing squad” where allies begin shooting each other.

“And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens.”

Although Obama’s warning appears to echo the fears of some others and seems aimed at progressive candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, a new poll finds the Vermont Senator leading the pack. As The Inquisitr reported, a national poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos found Sanders tied with Joe Biden for first place with 19 percent support. In addition, Sanders has been either at or near the top of polls in several key early-voting state polls, including New Hampshire and Iowa. As for Warren, she is currently second in polling average behind Biden.

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Obama previously took aim at cancel culture during a speech at the Obama Foundation last month, suggesting that it’s ineffective at achieving change.

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly.”

“That is not activism,” he later said, per Business Insider.