Democrats are making a big mistake by trying to avoid using the President during the current campaign. This poor strategic choice can be traced back to Al Gore’s refusal to tout President Clinton’s success with the economy because of fears about the effect of Monica Lewinsky.
Gore lost Arkansas in that election, a key battleground state, and a little campaigning there by President Clinton could have changed the results and the trajectory of our nation. One can easily argue another President would have avoided 9/11 by paying closer attention to clear warnings about Al Qaeda’s intentions from the intelligence community.
The traditional approach to an unpopular President, using him for closed-door fundraising events but avoiding public rallies, ignores the importance of turnout of the base to affect election results. In fact, due to the polarization of our politics, one can argue that there are fewer and fewer undecided voters, making efforts here increasingly unproductive.