Obama Is Best Democratic President Since FDR
David Leonhardt makes his case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2017 1:20 PM CST
President Obama speaks during his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – The bad news for supporters of President Obama is that Donald Trump's win means they're in for a tough fight to keep his achievements in place. But, writes David Leonhardt in the New York Times, "it's a testament to the last eight years that progressives have so much to defend." Obama's legacy began with saving the nation from the financial abyss and went on to include health care, climate change, education, civil rights, and more. On these points, Leonhardt cites the Jonathan Chait book Audacity, which details Obama's achievements and explains why they'll be much harder to derail than Republicans might think. It's easy to overlook the scope of them in the present, or even to cast them in a negative light, but Leonhardt writes that future historians will surely recognize them.

"Obama leaves office as the most successful Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt," writes Leonhardt. "His effect on the 'trajectory of America,' to use his benchmark, was certainly smaller than Roosevelt’s, but is in the same league as Reagan’s." In terms of guarding his legacy, however, Reagan had the great advantage of having his chosen successor follow him into office. So why is Leonhardt so sure that historians will eventually agree with him? Because young people today generally favor Obama's vision of America over Trump's. "And history is ultimately written by the young." Click for the full column.

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