Speaker of the House Barack Obama. It sounds outlandish right now as President Obama is still in the White House as a sitting President until January. However, if some Democrats get their way, it could become a reality.
There is an increasing call among Democrats to oust Nancy Pelosi, who’s approval rating is sitting under 30%, as House Minority Leader. That could happen before the next Congress convenes.
However, there are also calls for Democrats to rally around a central, popular leader to help energize their base and get their voter turnout numbers back to 2008/2012 levels. Obviously Barack Obama would be an obvious choice, but his time in the White House is done.
That’s why there is currently a petition circulating for Obama to run for Congress in 2018, and once in Congress to run for Speaker of the House (or Minority Leader if the Democrats fail to gain control of the House in 2018).
Representative Tim Ryan told the Washington Post, “If we don’t have Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, we can’t win elections. That is an unsustainable model. He can’t run again, so it’s not even like we can say, well, every four years we’ll win.”
This would put Obama into one of the most powerful positions in government. Arguably on par with the office of the President and Supreme Court Justices.
There is some thought that Democrats who were disillusioned with how the 2016 Presidential Race played out, both in the primary and the general elections, could turn out in big numbers during the 2018 midterm elections to try and wrestle full control of the government away from the Republicans. Historically however, Democratic turnout during midterm elections is much lower than presidential election years.
Certainly the prospect of putting the left’s golden child back into one of the most powerful positions in the federal government would have some massive appeal to long time Democrats and may help Democrats fix their midterm turnout problem.
So, what exactly would have to happen in order for Obama to fall into those ideal role for the Democrats? Well, a lot actually.
First, the obvious seat for Obama to run for would be Chicago’s 1st Congressional District. However, that seat is currently occupied by Rep. Bobby Rush. He would have to voluntarily decide not to run, or the President would have to fight Rush in a primary. Likely it’s the President’s nomination if he decides he wants it.
Then of course he would have to win the election. Given that we’re talking about inner city Chicago here I don’t think that would be too much of an issue either.
Then it gets tricky. In order for Obama to have any additional real power in the House and challenge President Donald Trump directly, the Democrats would have to win control of the House in 2018, easier said than done.
Democrats would have to hope that the prospect of an Obama speakership is enough to curb their midterm turnout problems and they also have to hope that enough independents are unhappy with Trump’s first two years that they come out in numbers to vote for Democrats.
Democrats would need to pick up 25 seats in order to gain control of the House. Then Obama would have to be elected Speaker of the House by his fellow members of the House. Presumably, if Nancy Pelosi was still in charge of the House Democrats, she would step aside.
That’s a whole lot of ifs and buts, but it might the Democrats only real chance to seize any real power over the next four years.
If Obama could pull it off, he would join John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon in the list of men who have served as Representative, Senator and President of the United States.