Though lots of people interpreted the 2016 election's results to mean our country is moving in a less progressive direction than we thought, President Barack Obama insists the attitudes that led Americans to elect him are still alive and well. In fact, he believes that if he had been the Democratic candidate instead of Hillary Clinton, he would be our president-elect now.
"There's this thing in this country that is good and unifies us. And ultimately, will win out," he said in an interview with David Axelrod, his former adviser, on the podcast The Axe Files. "I would argue that during the entire eight years that I've been president, that spirit of America has still been there in all sorts of ways," he explained. "It manifests itself in communities all across the country. We see it in this younger generation that is smarter, more tolerant, more innovative, more creative, more entrepreneurial, would not even think about, you know, discriminating somebody against, for example, because of their sexual orientation." But he acknowledged that it doesn't always seem that way, and has a theory as to why. "The resistance to that vision of America, which has always been there, was always powerful, mobilized, and asserted itself powerfully," he said. "What I would argue is, is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism," he added. "I am confident in this vision, because I'm confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it. I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one." It may seem like wishful thinking, but Clinton did win the popular vote, Obama's approval rating is at over 50%, and many people even want Michelle Obama to be president. To make the country's government match up with the majority's beliefs, Obama thinks liberals need to become more active in politics. "It means caring about local races, state boards, or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times editorial board will win the day."