Obama got started by eliminating rivals from the ballot

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, December 24, 2023

Political observers agree that it’s no secret Barack Obama is one of the primary captains steering the empty vessel that is Joe Biden’s Administration.

So, it should come as no surprise that the type of “lawfare” the Left has waged to keep Donald Trump off the 2024 presidential ballot was used extensively by Obama in his first foray into the political arena.

The Internet never forgets. Via the Wayback Machine, an April 4, 2007 article in the Chicago Tribune details how Obama in 1996 successfully got all of his opponents for an Illinois state Senate seat removed from the ballot.

Obama, then a Chicago civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project, challenged hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, a longtime progressive activist from Chicago’s South Side.

Obama’s team then continued challenging petitions until all four of his Democrat primary rivals were forced off the ballot, the report says.

One of the candidates Obama forced off the ballot, Gha-is Askia, told the Tribune that Obama’s petition challenges belied his image as a champion of the little guy and crusader for voter rights.

“Why say you’re for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?” Askia said. “He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?”

Obama acknowledged that “there’s a legitimate argument to be made that you shouldn’t create barriers to people getting on the ballot,” but went on to say “to my mind, we were just abiding by the rules that had been set up. I gave some thought to … should people be on the ballot even if they didn’t meet the requirements. My conclusion was that if you couldn’t run a successful petition drive, then that raised questions in terms of how effective a representative you were going to be.”

Asked whether the district’s primary voters were well-served by having only one candidate, Obama said: “I think they ended up with a very good state senator.”

Had Palmer, who served the Chicago district for much of the 1990s, survived the petition challenge, Obama would have faced taking on an incumbent senator.

“Palmer’s elimination marked the first of several fortuitous political moments in Obama’s electoral success: He won the 2004 primary and general elections for U.S. Senate after tough challengers imploded when their messy divorce files were unsealed,” the report said.

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