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Obama eager to Campaign for Clinton in the US Presidential Election 2016

In 1988, Ronald Reagan had a major impact on George H.W. Bush’s bid for the White House, as did Theodore Roosevelt on William Taft’s victory in 1908

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Hillary Clinton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Obama is extremely eager to help unite the Democratic party and hit the campaign trail to support its presidential nominee
  • Hillary Clinton is viewed as someone who can push forward Obama’s work beyond his presidency and help cement his legacy
  • Clinton possesses the ability and experience to serve as president
     

WHITE HOUSE- “We have got to make sure we get this election right,” Obama told supporters during a recent Democratic party fundraiser in Florida. Obama, with approval ratings of more than 50%, is the first sitting U.S. president in several decades who can impact the race to elect his successor to a great extent.

Obama is extremely eager to help unite the Democratic party and hit the campaign trail to support its presidential nominee, claim various Administration officials.  However, the White House object to this by saying that he will not make an endorsement until after a meeting with candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday, June 9.

President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Image source: Image source: Wikimedia Commons
President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Image source: Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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“We take for granted the incredible progress that we’ve made across every dimension of the economy, security, a society that’s more tolerant and more accepting of diversity,” Obama said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to build on.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who claimed the Democratic presidential nomination after decisive primary victories on Tuesday, is viewed as someone who can push forward Obama’s work beyond his presidency and help cement his legacy.

Obama is also ready to burst onto the campaign stage to counter controversial rhetoric by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Trump’s own party leaders have criticized some of his remarks as divisive and racist, and the president has said Trump’s foreign policy statements have “rattled” world leaders.

 Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016. Wikimedia commons.
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016. Wikimedia commons.

Treading carefully and running ‘scared’

Mindful of the need to keep the Democratic Party united and energized to win the November presidential election, the U.S. leader did not step forward immediately to endorse Clinton after her decisive primary victories on Tuesday.

Instead, Obama telephoned both Clinton and her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.

The Vermont senator has garnered the support of millions of voters, particularly those under 30, with a consistently forceful message against the corrosive sway of special interests in Washington and rising income inequality in America.

At Sanders’ request, Obama will meet with the senator at the White House on Thursday to discuss “how to build on the extraordinary work he has done to engage millions of Democratic voters, and to build on that enthusiasm in the weeks and months ahead,” according to a statement by Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

While the president has expressed confidence in the Democratic party’s ability to win the White house and other key races, he has told supporters, “I want us to run scared the whole time.”

Giving Clinton ‘sizzle’

Obama congratulated Clinton for securing the delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination.

With an unfavorable rating of more than 50 percent in most polls, Clinton has much to gain from the backing of a popular president who is widely respected as a party leader and on the global stage.

“It has been a long time since a sitting president became the super campaign cheerleader for a candidate,” said Douglas Brinkley, Rice University presidential historian.

In 1988, Ronald Reagan had a major impact on George H.W. Bush’s bid for the White House, as did Theodore Roosevelt on William Taft’s victory in 1908.

Clinton possesses the ability and experience to serve as president, said Brinkley. However, she does not have the ability to connect with the public in a way Obama and her husband, former President Bill Clinton do. Also, her image has been tarnished by a series of scandals
“Hillary Clinton is not the most charismatic public speaker. She’s worked on it,” said Brinkley. “But the kind of sizzle factor that President Obama can bring, after winning two terms in a row, will be an immeasurable help to her.”

“Barack Obama knows how to bring out the college students, in a way that Bernie Sanders did. He’s popular with young people. And she sorely needs to energize younger voters,“ Brinkley noted.

Obama is also highly popular among key voting blocs, such as African Americans, Latinos, and younger voters. He wants to ensure the next president will carry forward his signature accomplishments, like passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s almost like he’s running for a third term for president,” said Brinkley.

-prepared by Devika Todi (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: devika_todi

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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.