By Astead W. Herndon
One American politician is currently dominating the cultural landscape, from social media to late-night television. His poll numbers look great, his Twitter posts are often among the most read in the world, and with every utterance, his impassioned base of supporters reacts with a fervor more typical for celebrities than former civil servants.
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Meet Barack Obama.
The former president left office last January with favorable approval ratings, but historians, former staffers, and political observers now say his societal standing has reached a new echelon — and it’s partly due to his successor.
Donald Trump spent much of his first year in office attempting to erase Obama’s policy legacy, but experts, backed by loads of anecdotal evidence, say Trump’s unconventional and often divisive conduct has actually deepened the connection to Obama for liberals and independents. As the current president spent 2017 buffeted by scandals and igniting Twitter controversies, Obama seemed to increasing numbers a throwback to simpler political times, more deeply admired by those who find Trump ever more deeply objectionable.