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Joe Biden’s the Right Target—Not Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama delivers a virtual commencement address to millions of high school seniors who will miss graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. May 16, 2020. REUTERS/Bing Guan

Everyone expects President Trump to use his record-breaking campaign war chest to launch vigorous attacks on his November opponent, Joe Biden, but the President’s recent verbal assaults on Barack Obama do nothing to enhance his re-election prospects.

2016 exit polls showed 16% of white, working-class supporters who gave Trump his key swing state victories previously backed Obama. Insulting a president they once supported as “incompetent” and “criminal” won’t cement their connection to the current incumbent. Diminished black turnout also helped Trump in 2016—with only 60% of eligible black voters showing up for Hillary, compared to 66% who turned out for Obama in 2012.

Making the ex-president the focus of new attacks, rather than Biden, could easily mobilize another African-American tidal wave in turnout, while alienating masses of blue collar, white voters who switched last time from Obama to Trump. It’s a formula for damaging Republican chances, not for winning re-election.

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