President Barack Obama believes he would have won the 2016 presidential election had he been able to run, insisting the message of “hope and change” he campaigned on in 2008 still holds true.
“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama told David Axelrod, his former senior adviser and current CNN Senior Political Commentator, on CNN’s “The Axe Files” podcast aired on Monday.
Obama asserted that, in conversations he had across the nation, even “some people who disagreed” with him would say “the direction that you point towards is the right one.”
Despite some who have seen Trump’s November victory as a repudiation of his administration, Obama is still confident in his vision of America.
“What I would argue is, is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism,” Obama said.
Throughout the interview, Obama and Axelrod analyzed the political conditions that led to Trump and Republicans’ victory in the presidential and congressional elections. Obama noted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “pretty smart and well executed” strategy of obstructionism as critical to Republicans’ ability to “puncture” talk “about hope and change.”
Obama faulted the election loss to Democrats for failing to be “on the ground” communicating that the party and their policies are aimed at working class voters. Despite the loss, Obama aid Hillary Clinton “performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances” and was mistreated by the media.
Obama currently has the highest approval rating he’s ever had during his second term – 57 percent according to a Gallup survey conducted in November.