Donald Trump’s extremist agenda may face an unprecedented challenge from the beginning of his presidency in the form of an opposition party led by President Barack Obama.
At a press conference in Peru, the President said, “I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance.”
But he added, “As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes.”
As the Democratic Party sorts out its leadership after the election loss, Obama remains a popular figure in America with an approval rating of 56% — and even stronger support within the Democratic Party.
The American model has generally seen Presidents fade away post-election, but Obama could buck the tradition in order to temper the extreme agenda that Trump and congressional Republicans have planned. In addition to anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policies, Republicans also have plans to privatize Medicare and possibly Social Security which could cause an immediate backlash to their electoral wins. The fact that Trump lost the popular vote and lacks a mandate for his presidency would likely factor in to any possible resistance to his agenda.
The tradition of a “shadow party” has been a part of European politics, particularly in the United Kingdom where an opposition party sets up shadow ministers in order to counter the party in power.