Former President Barack Obama has come under fire for his comments warning Democratic presidential hopefuls against going too liberal when it comes to their policy proposals — a suggestion many in the party’s left flank have taken issue with.
Obama’s remarks came Friday during a gathering of Democratic donors, where he urged the growing field of 2020 candidates to pay attention to what voters actually want, because most of them don’t want to “tear down the system.”
“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality,” the ex-POTUS said, according to CNN.
Obama, 58, argued that while voters are in favor of improvement, “the average American doesn’t think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
His remarks hit a nerve with several prominent Democrats, including former Hillary Clinton adviser Peter Daou, who called Obama to the carpet over it all using social media hashtag #TooFarLeft.
CONFESSION: I'm Too Far Left™
I'm #TooFarLeft because I want kids to be safe in school.
I'm #TooFarLeft because I want people to live in dignity.
I'm #TooFarLeft because I seek justice and equality.
I'm #TooFarLeft because I think healthcare and housing are human rights.
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) November 16, 2019
“I’m #TooFarLeft because I want kids to be safe in school,” tweeted Daou, who sparked the online movement. “I’m #TooFarLeft because I want people to live in dignity. I’m #TooFarLeft because I seek justice and equality. I’m #TooFarLeft because I think healthcare and housing are human rights.”
The Democratic strategist later clarified the slogan wasn’t “primarily about Obama … though he was the catalyst for the tag.” He further argued that the idea of Dems being “too liberal” to beat President Donald Trump — a notion he said has been hard pushed by the right and mainstream media — is “the biggest single challenge” the party faces today.
It wasn’t long before fellow Democrats weighed in.
Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar said to count her in “if being #TooFarLeft means: believing healthcare is a human right, future generations should live on a healthy planet [and] all student debt should be cancelled,” among other hot button issues supported by Democrats.
“I’m #TooFarLeft because I believe prisons, police and capitalism should be abolished,” activist Zellie Imani wrote. “Oh, wait maybe I am too far left!”
One user aimed her criticism at Obama directly.
“While you are comfortable in your $15 million mansion, Americans are suffering,” Twitter user @PepperOceanna wrote, tagging the former POTUS. “People are dying because they can’t afford Healthcare, people are homeless, children go without school meals, the planet is dying. Is it really #TooFarLeft to care about humanity?”
Award-winning film producer Evan Shapiro said he isn’t at all worried about the Democratic nominee being too liberal, arguing: “The GOP never worries about being ‘too far right.’ They just win — with fewer working votes!”
“I’m ONLY worried that we keep letting the media and those on the too far (alt) right tell us who to Nominate,” Shapiro added.
The backlash comes just weeks after the popular 44th president faced similar criticism. Obama was speaking at the 3rd annual Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago last month, when he challenged the idea of “woke culture.”
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re always politically woke and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly,” he told the crowd. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to gt very far.”