Former President Barack Obama finally spoke out forcefully last night after months in the background telling Democrats at a Beverly Hills fundraiser that “you are right to be concerned” about what is going on in America, reports Politico.
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Without ever mentioning President Trump by name, as is his usual practice, Obama warned there is no magical savior, just the need to get out the vote in the midterm elections, not just for federal candidates but also on the state and local level where Republicans have done a much better job of electing people in recent years.
“Do not wait for the perfect message, don’t wait to feel a tingle in your spine because you’re expecting politicians to be so inspiring and poetic and moving that somehow, ‘OK, I’ll get off my couch after all and go spend the 15-20 minutes it takes for me to vote.’ Because that’s part of what happened in the last election.“
Obama warned the crowd in assembly to support the Democratic National Committee that it would be a mistake to think there is a big blue wave coming just become Democrats have done well in some recent elections. The other side, he says, knows how to get to people.
“Fear is powerful. Telling people that somebody’s out to get you, or somebody took your job, or somebody has it out for you, or is going to change you, or your community, or your way of life — that’s an old story and it has shown itself to be powerful in societies all around the world.
“It is a deliberate, systematic effort to tap into that part of our brain that carries fear in it.”
Obama said that Democrats and Republicans tell very different stories. “There’s a fundamental contrast of how we view the world,” Obama explained. “We are seeing the consequences of when one vision is realized, or in charge.”
The Democrats who are worried about what is happening are right but that does not mean the Republicans have the only story that will win over voters.
“All these people that are out here kvetching and wringing their hands and stressed and anxious and constantly watching cable TV and howling at the moon, ‘What are we going to do?’ their hair’s falling out, they can’t sleep.
“The majority of the American people prefer a story of hope,” he continued.
Obama mocked Trump and the Republicans for their anger over just about everything, even things they can control. “They’re mad even when they win,” he said.
Trump said it is Americans who should be mad. They had health care and now it has been taken away and there is no better, cheaper replacement as Trump promised.
“Of course people are going to be angry about that because if you had health care and suddenly somebody who says they’re going to make it better comes in and makes it worse, you’ll be pissed.”
The right response? “You should go out and vote.”
“Boil it down,” Obama said, “If we don’t vote, then this democracy doesn’t work.”
Obama called that an opportunity for Democrats.
“The Democrats’ job is not to exaggerate; the Democrats’ job is not to simply mimic the tactics of the other side. All we have to do is work hard on behalf of that truth. And if we do, we’ll get better outcomes.”
After stepping out of the limelight since he left office, Obama appears ready to step up to ignite Democrats in time for the upcoming midterm elections.
In addition to last night’s fundraiser, his efforts to help restock the Democratic war chest continue with two more fundraisers in San Francisco over the weekend, and hopefully more beyond that.
Trump, for all his many faults, has a passionate base that will follow him to hell – or Moscow – if that is where he leads.
Democrats are divided at this point between the traditional party and an energized progressive wing that Bernie Sanders has helped bring to life.
Those two factions must unite to have a chance to win back the House and take the Senate which is the one thing that can stop Trump by next January from continuing down the same path of pretending to be a populist while shoveling wealth to the rich.
Obama proved in 2008 and 2012 that he is the rare politician who can unite all Democrats and many independents with a message of hope and a belief in the values and human rights that Trump is trying to destroy, so until the next charismatic candidate comes along sometime before 2020, he is badly needed.
In the meantime, remember his basic message: if you do not vote, democracy dies and the greedy, manipulative, underhanded Republicans and their billionaire masters win.
So you must vote, and you need to make sure others vote as well.
If we want the America we once loved, everybody must participate – or watch democracy die as you sit on the couch consumed with worry.