Taking Stock of President Obama’s Succession Plan

Following the 2014 election, Ron Brownstein got a quote from the White House about what President Obama had been up to since his re-election in 2012.

One senior Obama adviser says the administration “To Do list” after 2012 included thinking “about how you lock in the Obama coalition for Democrats going forward. Because it’s not a 100 percent certainty that they come out for the next Democrat.” Part of the answer, the adviser said, was to pursue aggressive unilateral action on “a set of issues where we have an advantage … and believe are substantively the right thing to do” and dare Republicans to oppose him.

I called it the President’s succession plan. We’ll find out how well it worked in November. But perhaps now is a good time to take stock of how things are going so far.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the set of issues Obama has put on the table: executive action on immigration, grassroots efforts to raise the minimum wage and enact paid sick/family leave, new rules on overtime pay, new EPA rules to combat climate change, the Paris Climate agreement, the Iran nuclear agreement, opening diplomatic ties with Cuba, common sense gun safety measures, a proposal for tuition free community college and aggressive attempts to tackle the pre-distribution market forces of income inequality.

At the time I wrote about it last summer, Greg Sargent was asking some questions about whether or not the eventual Republican nominee would take up Obama’s challenge and dare to oppose these. We now have an answer to that question: an unequivocal “yes!”

All I can say to that is: Game On!

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.