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Low approval ratings force Obama out of midterm campaigns, back into international affairs

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It’s election season! That means it’s the season of video ads and door-to-door campaigning. All of the politicians want as many people as possible out supporting them-but it seems as if one person is decidedly missing. President Barack Obama has been almost entirely absent during this election season. Consequently, the President’s approval rating has recently dropped to an all-time low, and it has become clear that campaigning Democrats do not want him involved in their campaign as a result. They seem worried that mere association with the president is enough to threaten their approval ratings.

I, for one, am glad about this. It is not because I do not like the president, but more so because his rejection by the Democratic Party is forcing him out of the political games for which Washington is famous. As president, he should not have time for these campaigns. Between ISIS, Ebola, a recovering economy, school shootings and a belligerent Russia, President Obama has his hands full dealing with international crises. With the world falling apart, the president has no business being out campaigning and living in the world of Washington’s political games.

Now, thanks to his low approval rating, the president has been forced out of those political distractions and can spend his time exclusively focused on solving problems. This is exactly as it should be.

But what the president has done is back off of his more aggressive executive action policies that he began implementing. The common belief is that he is doing this for the sake of the Democratic Party. Those actions were so volatile to his public approval that they threatened the approval rating of the entire Democratic Party. This means that the president is molding his policy to fit what his party needs to win votes, and that is unacceptable. The president is still in office; he is still commander in chief. His policies should only be characterized by what he feels is best for the country right now. His power is not to be wielded as something to garner votes for Senate seats, and his policy cannot be shaped by politics.

The noblest course of action for the president would be for him to continue to stay out of the senatorial races and to continue pushing the political agenda that the American people elected him to fulfill. It is not the president’s prerogative to win the senate for his party; it is his sworn duty to lead the United States of America as its commander in chief.

Democrats do not want the president involved in their campaigns, and the American public did not elect the president to play political games. That’s why – as counterintuitive as it may be – the president’s low approval rating is a very good thing. This is the chance for Obama to give up on the politics and to continue to press his policy forward.

And, by the way, these senatorial races are not a foregone conclusion. Both Democrat and Republican approval ratings have come down in the last few months, and the campaigns are still fighting fiercely against one another. So let the politicians campaign, because that’s what they do. I want my president to lead.

Sage Fulco ’18 fulco1@stolaf.edu is from Wayzata, Minn. He majors in physics.