Yet for all those precautions, Obama’s rare campaign appearance did not go as planned — and not only because a man heckled him for his refusal to block more deportations. With about five minutes to go in his 25-minute speech, about the time Obama said, “I’m just telling you what you already know,” people began to trickle out. By the time he had finished, perhaps a few hundred had walked out on the president.
This exodus wasn’t intended as a protest. Long lines for shuttles taking attendees to remote parking sites induced participants to leave early so they could beat the rush. But the overall effect was akin to what happens when baseball fans begins filtering out in the seventh inning because the home team is down by five runs. And, in a way, that is what’s going on in these midterm elections.
Obama is President Pariah in these final weeks of the 2014 midterms. Vulnerable Democratic candidates don’t want to be seen with him. Three Democratic senators have run ads distancing themselves from him, and Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky, has refused — absurdly — to say whether she voted for Obama. Obama’s support is 40 percent nationally and lower in the Republican states where many of this year’s competitive races are taking place.