Progressive journalist David Dayen said former President Obama will largely refrain from weighing in on the Democratic primary unless the party fails to choose a nominee on the first round of delegate voting at the party’s nominating convention.
“I don’t really see a scenario where he gets involved unless the journalism fantasy scenario of a brokered convention,” Dayen, an executive editor at the left-leaning magazine The American Prospect, told Hill.TV in an interview that aired on Monday.
“I could see him maybe coming out at that point if nobody has a majority of delegates heading into the convention,” he continued.
Dayen maintained that he thinks that “would be the only scenario” in which Obama would put his thumb on the scale.
Though a nominee won’t officially be chosen until next year at the Democrat National Convention, several front runners have emerged from the 2020 Democratic primary race. This includes Obama’s former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and most recently, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).
So far, Biden still leads the pack on a national scale, averaging 27 percent support in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. His closest competitor is Sanders at 18.3 percent, closely followed by Warren at 15.8 percent and then Buttigieg at 11 percent, according to the average.
Dayen’s comments come after reports emerged that Obama said that he would speak up to stop Sanders from becoming the Democratic presidential nominee if the Vermont senator held a strong lead in the Democracy primary.
According to a report from Politico, a close adviser to Obama said he could not confirm whether Obama would stand up against Sanders.
Obama has largely remained on the political sidelines and has not shown favor towards any one candidate.
At the same time, the former president has made it clear that Democratic primary candidates should avoid moving too far to the left in their policy proposals. Both Sanders and Warren have introduced broad structural progressive changes like eliminating private health insurance as part of their campaign platforms.
“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality,” Obama reportedly said at a meeting of fundraisers last month. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
— Tess Bonn