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News > U.S.

Obama Hinted Democratic Candidates Should Not Move Too Far Left

  • Obama had already expressed worries that the 2020 field could be too liberal.

    Obama had already expressed worries that the 2020 field could be too liberal. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 November 2019

The hashtag #TooFarLeft was trending on Saturday to denounce the former president's comments.

Former United States President Barack Obama said Friday before a crowd of wealthy liberal donors from the Democratic Party that voters won't choose a presidential candidate whose ideas are, according to him, "too zealous and radical," the New York Times reported.


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While the ex-president did not mention any specific candidate or policy proposal, he said that the Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans voters that are likely to support a Democratic candidate are not interested in the views reflected on "certain left-leaning Twitter feeds" or "the activist wing of our party."

The former president intended with these apparent warnings to send a message to presidential hopefuls to not move 'too far left'.

“This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. They like seeing things improved. But the average American doesn’t think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” he added. “And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that.”

As a result, progressives took on social media to respond to the former president, refusing to allow a Democrat who gained voters’ confidence and took power in 2008 on the campaign promise of "hope and change," escape with these affirmations. On Saturday, the hashtag #TooFarLeft became a trending topic on Twitter.

"I launched the #TooFarLeft tag because I've had it with Republicans, media elites, and corporate Dems enabling fascists while denigrating those who seek economic and social justice as 'too far left.'  I'd like to ONCE hear them complain America is too far right," Democratic strategist Peter Daou, who launched the hashtag explained.

"Obama telling a room of wealthy donors to support candidates that protect their wealth, which comes at the expense of helping everyday people, is [heartbreaking]," tweeted Melanie D'Arrigo, a progressive activist currently running for U.S. Congress in New York's 3rd District against a more centrist incumbent. "This is exactly why everyday people want a political revolution. Government isn’t working for them."

Obama had already expressed worries that the 2020 field could be too liberal when he said in April that progressives want “purity."

"One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States -maybe it’s true here as well- is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, 'Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,' and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a 'circular firing squad,' where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues," he said at the time. "And when that happens, typically the overall effort and the movement weakens."

For many, his Friday comments could be understood as critiques addressed to Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who called for a “political revolution” and “big structural change," proposing policies that would finish with private health insurance and hold up deportations, and are both leading the Democratic primaries.


Barack Obama
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