While former President Barack Obama is looking to help campaign with Democrats seeking to win the 2018 midterm elections, not everyone is so eager to have him alongside heading into September. This is especially true for Democrats in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Take, for example, Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). They tend to caucus with Republicans regarding issues that matter tremendously to their blue collar constituents. Democrats in states that President Trump dominated Hillary Clinton in by double digits surely don’t want Obama campaigning beside them. They would rather keep their battles narrowly framed to be between them and their direct competitors.
The disaccord between Democrats in these states and the former president is unhealthy for the Democratic Party. It will be very difficult for them to win in November if party leaders so strongly praise Obama and they remain silent. If they are ever asked to take a position on the former president on the record, they may very well dodge the question. Answering that question is a lose-lose for them: either they don’t stand with their party, or they risk alienating all of President Trump’s voters in their state.
One thing is for sure: it’s not easy to be a Democratic candidate in North Dakota or West Virginia.