Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Obama Implores Americans to Defeat Trump

As I have noted both on this blog and on Facebook, the 2020 presidential election is a stark choice between (i) morality - i.e,. anyone other than Trump - and (ii) immorality as embodied in Donald Trump, a malignant narcissist whose stock in trade is endless lies, hate and bigotry and an utter disregard for the best interests of the majority average Americans. There truly is no middle ground, some my Republican friends will be confirming whether or not they are moral and decent individuals or not based on how they cast their vote come November.

 While Barack Obama made mistakes while president (we are all mortals after all), overall I believe he stands for morality, the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.  That is certainly the feeling I got the one time I was up close to him and heard him speak at a campaign event in 2012.  Trump, as noted, is the antithesis of morality, equality under the law, and constitutional government.  Indeed, in my view, Trump is nothing less than evil. Hence why Obama is now beginning a series of campaign appearances for Joe Biden and other Democrat congressional candidates.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at Obama's message to Americans.  Here are highlights:
Joe Biden’s campaign has long viewed his partnership with former president Barack Obama as one of his chief assets in running for president. He spoke often of “my buddy Barack” during campaign events. . . . . But for the past year and a half, there has often been a critical piece missing: Obama.
That began to change in April, when Obama endorsed Biden. On Tuesday, it went a step further, as Obama and Biden made their first joint appearance in years, the former partners allied as they attempt to defeat President Trump.
Obama was the main draw at a virtual fundraiser for Biden, raising more than $7.6 million from 175,000 individual donors, according to Biden’s campaign.
“You’re all feeling a sense of urgency, the same kind of urgency I’m feeling right now,” Obama said near the start of the fundraiser. “I’m here to say: Help is on the way.”
Obama launched into an in-depth criticism of Trump, without mentioning him by name, and said that while his own administration inherited problems, “the foundation stones, the institutions we had in place, were still more or less intact.”
“My predecessor, who I disagreed with on a whole host of issues, still had a basic regard for the rule of law and the importance of our institutions and democracy,” he said.
“What we have seen over the last couple of years is a White House enabled by Republicans in Congress and a media structure that supports them . . . that suggests facts don’t matter, science doesn’t matter,” Obama said. “That suggests that a deadly disease is fake news. That sees the Justice Department as simply an extension and an arm of the personal concerns of the president. That actively promotes division. And considers some people in this country more real as Americans than others.”
[T]his is serious business. Whatever you’ve done so far is not enough . . . We have to do more,” Obama said. He warned Biden supporters of Trump’s strength, and not to underestimate his ability to harness his supporters.
“We can’t be complacent or smug or say it’s so obvious this president hasn’t done a good job,” Obama said. “Look. He won once.”
Obama also turned toward Biden, touting his work with “our presidency” and saying that the tragedies in the former vice president’s life allow him to better understand the lives of average Americans. “This is somebody who has been touched by tragedy in a direct, profound way and as a consequence has enlarged his heart to embrace other people who are undergoing tragedy,” he said.
The event marked a new phase for Obama, who is expected to increase his campaigning not only for Biden but also a full slate of Democrats aiming to preserve the House majority and win back the Senate.
Obama is seen as vital to energizing elements of his coalition with whom Biden has struggled, including young black voters and liberal voters who have distrusted the former vice president, who built his career as a moderate who could work with Republicans. He appeared to target one of their disconnects with Biden when he directly addressed his age.
“I’ll be honest, and hope Joe doesn’t take offense,” he said. “Joe’s been around a while. Sometimes what happens is we take that for granted.
“There’s a tendency to always look for the new and shiny object. But for my money, one of the things that counts the most is to have somebody, whatever mistakes they’ve made or hardships they’ve gone through, have they shown the kind of character that stands up,” he said. “And my experience with Joe Biden is that’s who he is.”
After Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suspended his campaign in April, Obama released a lengthy video endorsing Biden. In the video, he reflected on the shifts within the party he once led and called for more assertive action.
“To meet the moment, the Democratic Party will have to be bold,” Obama said. “I could not be prouder of the incredible progress that we made together during my presidency. But if I were running today, I wouldn’t run the same race or have the same platform as I did in 2008. The world is different. There’s too much unfinished business for us to just look backwards. We have to look to the future.”
Trump can use opposition to Obama to mobilize his supporters — on Tuesday, his campaign sent out a fundraising email with sirens and the subject line “BARACK OBAMA” — but Obama is generally viewed favorably by most Americans. A recent Fox News poll had Obama with a net favorability of 28 points, compared with minus-12 points for Trump.
Obama has recently shed some of his reluctance to engage in national politics, sharply criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic last month by calling it “an absolute chaotic disaster” during a call with a network of former staffers and supporters.
On the call, he also criticized the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn, who served as Trump’s first national security adviser, saying that it was “the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that . . . our basic understanding of the rule of law is at risk.”
Obama is expected to ramp up his campaign activities over the coming months, with those close to him pointing to his 2018 involvement as a template: He spent the summer raising money before doing two rounds of endorsements and stumping in 11 states as Election Day neared.

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