*Team Hillary can add another celebrity to its ranks, with the support of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The NBA icon made his endorsement of Hillary Clinton known via a Washington Post column that was published on Saturday. Assessing the 2016 presidential landscape, Abdul-Jabbar mentioned that Americans have a choice “between hell and reason.”
“We are in a defining battle between the resurgence of the irrational, and all the horrors that have historically gone with it — violence, bigotry, fascism — and reason, with all the advances that have accompanied it — justice and freedom for all, regardless of ethnic background, social status, gender or sexual orientation,” he writes.
When it comes to Clinton, Abdul-Jabbar stated that she “possesses that rare but crucial combination of idealism and pragmatism.”
The sports legend’s view on Clinton marks a notable contrast of how he sees Republican presidential contenders Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. According to Abdul-Jabbar, the real estate mogul and Texas senator have rejected “foundational ideals in favor of a hellish chaos of lies, misdirection, attacks on the Constitution and, most harmful to the country, a rejection of reason.”
Abdul-Jabbar may have picked his favorite Democrat, but President Barack Obama looks to be holding off on his endorsement for now.
Senior White House advisors tell The Los Angeles Times that party unity is the reason why Obama is expected to sit out the entire Democratic primary season.
The action stems from concerns about potential damage from Obama coming in too soon into a contentious Democratic contest that’s running far longer than he expected. With notable conflict in recent days between Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the foundation could be laid to permanently damage the Democratic Party. As a result, there looks to be no clear way for Obama to unify Democrats without alienating voters on both sides.
Nevertheless, the Times notes that White House aides are “gambling that the president will still have enough time to rally the party before the November general election, even if Clinton and Sanders stay in the race until the final primary votes are cast in June.
Should Obama opt to jump into the primary early, risks that could cost votes in November include jeopardizing the loyalty of Sanders’ supporters as well as facing accusations of acting in the interests of the establishment, whom they severely dislike
While the risks can’t be ignored, the reality is that Obama will have to come into the picture at some point as the Democratic Party’s leader and an outgoing president whose legacy heavily relies on a Democratic successor. The president’s involvement is especially important in order to prevent squabbling within the party at a time when unity is needed most as a fierce general election looms.
“As the leader of the party and as the incumbent two-term president who also happens to have among Democrats and independents the highest favorable and approval ratings of any national elected official, unity is important,” White House political director David Simas told the Times. “So that’s guided the way we’ve thought about this.”
As it stands now, Clinton has the support of many Democratic leaders, with more than 450 super-delegates in her corner.
Still, Obama has, by tradition and practicality, stayed out of the race, since he does not want to be seen as publicly influencing voters or messing up the chances of lesser-known candidates, including Sanders.
With that, Obama’s advisors don’t see the president endorsing anyone until after the final primary.