President Obama Is Not Done. He Has Big Plans For The Nation’s Next Leaders (Video)

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In a month’s time, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be vacating the White House, along with their two daughters, Malia and Sasha. The First Family has given new meaning to the word “influential,” and have maneuvered a very public life with class, grace, and humor. With their impending return to civilian life, questions about what the future holds for the historic couple abound, particularly with the equally historic transfer of power to the hands of a Republican Party steered by Donald Trump. In fact, rebuilding the Democratic Party has become a goal for politicians and citizens alike, as the country reels from a vitriolic presidential campaign and a new presidential cabinet comprised of mostly White men.

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President Obama has shared his plans for his future outside of the Oval Office with NPR, and one of his main focuses will be to help young people “rise up.” In speaking with Morning Edition‘s Steve Inskeep, the President shared “what I am interested in is just developing a whole new generation of talent,” adding “there are such incredible young people who not only worked on my campaign, but I’ve seen in advocacy groups.” Citing the fact that young people are extremely concerned about issues like climate change and criminal-justice reform, he says he hopes to help the future leaders of this country collect “whatever resources, credibility, [and] spotlight” they need to push such issues through to legislation.

As NPR reports, undertaking such work is necessary, given the current political makeup of our governing bodies. “Republicans will control the House, Senate and White House when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in January 20,” writes Scott Detrow. It’s essentially a 180-degree flip of what Obama entered into eight years ago, during what was “the peak of massive Democratic electoral gains at the end of the Bush administration.” With the most Republican governors in a century, America’s states will be as important (if not more so) hotbeds for political action by Democrats as the federal playing field, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Democratic Party itself has to adopt new tactics.

As Obama explained, “I don’t think there’s something wrong with the core argument that the Democratic Party has made for years.” He uses the minimum wage as an example of an individual issue where there is lots of support nationwide. ” In every survey across the country, people support a higher minimum wage. There are clearly, though, failures on our part to give people in rural areas or in ex-urban areas, a sense day-to-day that we’re fighting for them or connected to them,” he says. It’s crucial that young Democrats maintain the pressure on local issues, too, as he admits ” I do think that we have a bias towards national issues and international issues.”

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Solidifying his argument regarding the importance of being politically engaged all year, every year, Obama says “If we either celebrate or despair just around presidential elections, without spending enough time focusing on how, in our day-to-day lives, in our local civic lives, in our media, in our culture.” One way to get a head start on affecting real change is to get involved with the midterm elections of 2018 by identifying the issues most important to you, and supporting candidates at the local and municipal levels. Readers can learn more about what’s at stake by checking out this report from the Washington Post.