Today, former U.S. President Barack Obama released a second round of endorsements for the 2018 midterm elections in a tweet, including this text:

Today, I’m proud to endorse even more Democratic candidates who aren’t just running against something, but for something—to expand opportunity for all of us and to restore dignity, honor, and compassion to public service. They deserve your vote:

Here is a link to the tweet:https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1046803503988006912

He had earlier released his first "wave" of endorsements on August 1st:

Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent:

Link: https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/1024691241093607425

My question is pretty straight-forward: Why is the former president releasing his endorsements in separate waves? Is this a political strategy, a result of the primary calendar, or a result of some vetting process? Perhaps there is a reason that has not occurred to me yet?

I would also be curious:

  1. Should we expect more rounds of endorsements from President Obama?

  2. Of what import are these endorsements apart from giving candidates the ability to cite them in campaigning efforts? Do they indicate that the former president plans to campaign for these candidates further leading up to the election?

1 Answer 1


It's mostly a media strategy to maximize exposure and get free advertising from news outlets. If he endorsed just one candidate, it wouldn't make very many newscasts. He also likely vets each endorsement, or possibly even speaks to the candidates to suss out favor-ability, which takes time. He can't just do the whole field at once or it's hardly news at all; "Obama endorses all dems" isn't an interesting headline or story.

He likely leaves some out on purpose, to increase "chatter" (free advertising) among the talking heads and political commentators, getting them to mention more names than otherwise. He also needs to make sure his unfavorable polling results are not too high in a target area before announcing, lest he inflame the opposition. Lastly, he wants a good track record, so he would be hesitant to endorse a sure-fire loser, lest they water down the perception of his endorsement's potential in future races, increasing the value of it in current races.

  • Holding off on endorsing candidates may also be a pressure tool, to push candidates to adopt legislation that Obama may support. Once you have given your endorsement, you've lost that leverage. That is assuming the Obama's endorsement is even a good thing. Hillary's certainly isn't. Obama, like most past presidents, is being rehabilitated, just as Bush was before him. Favorable ratings usually increase once they're out of office.
    – Icarian
    Oct 4, 2018 at 6:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .