This article answers a lot of questions I had about the Obama presidency from the beginning. Team Obama had amassed a huge base of enthusiastic volunteers & supporters from the campaign, using the most sophisticated digital connections available in 2008.
What happened with that massive political force after the election? Pretty much nothing. This piece explains why. Obama’s base was disengaged; his agenda stalled. Hope & change turned to disillusionment & despair. As a result, the GOP recaptured political momentum in a big way in 2010.
It didn’t need to happen that way. But instead of keeping a huge enthusiastic base engaged in the political process, the Obama administration basically said, “Thanks, we’ll take it from here.” And failed. Because DNC bigwigs wanted to make sure they didn’t lose control of their political movement. Instead, they lost control of the whole Congress. Dumb.
We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. If we get a president Warren or Sanders in 2020, their progressive agenda will face a challenge in Congress. I suspect both Warren & Sanders campaigns understand this political dynamic very well now & won’t make a similar mistake, but we all need to make sure it happens. Because grassroots democracy requires full participation by the grassroots.
>>As we now know, that grand vision for a postcampaign movement never came to fruition. Instead of mobilizing his unprecedented grassroots machine to pressure obstructionist lawmakers, support state and local candidates who shared his vision, and counter the Tea Party, Obama mothballed his campaign operation, bottling it up inside the Democratic National Committee. It was the seminal mistake of his presidency—one that set the tone for the next eight years of dashed hopes, and helped pave the way for Donald Trump to harness the pent-up demand for change Obama had unleashed.