Former President Barack Obama has been more vocal in politics after the end of his term than is considered typical for an ex-President. Obama’s remarks at a campaign rally for Virginia Governor candidate Ralph Northam (D), took specific aim at President Donald Trump.
As seen in footage of the rally, Obama accused President Trump of “dividing the country,” saying “If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you’re not going to be able to govern them. You won’t be able to unite them later.”
Obama: “If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you’re not going to be able to govern them. You won’t be able to unite them later” pic.twitter.com/TPAkycVMXQ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 19, 2017
As reported by Politico, Obama has been quite active in promoting Democrat politicians ahead of the 2018 elections. Prior to his Virginia appearance, the former president was in New Jersey campaigning on behalf of Phil Murphy, who served as Obama’s ambassador to Germany.
In front of a crowd of more than 7,000, Obama painted next month’s Virginia gubernatorial election as an existential one. “We need you to take this seriously,” he told the audience. “Our democracy is at stake. Elections matter. Voting matters. ”
Obama went on to encourage his supporters not to sit the election out. “You can’t take anything for granted. You can’t sit this one out. It’s up to you. And if you believe in that better vision not just of our politics, but of our common life, of our democracy, of who we are,” he said.
He continued, “If you want that reflected in our government, if you want our kids to see our government and feel good about it, and feel like they’re represented and if you want those values that you are teaching your children reinforced… then you’ve got to go out there.”
Obama did not mention Trump by name, but left no doubt as to who he was referring to with statements like “we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”
According to Obama, politicization and partisanship are “infecting” America. “Folks don’t feel good right now about what they see,” he asserted. “Maybe they don’t feel as if our public life reflects our best.”
The former president depicted the Democrat party as embodying an uplifting spirit of unison, recalling the “change” and “hope” sentiments that propelled him to victory in 2008 and 2012. “The question now, at a time when our politics just seems so divided, and so angry, and so nasty, is whether we can recapture that spirit, whether we support and embrace somebody who wants to bring people together,” he said. “Yes, we can.”
Democrats hope Obama’s presence in Virginia will give their candidate, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, the boost necessary to get him over the edge. While the state currently has a Democrat governor, Terry McAuliffe, polls indicate the race is close. As reported by Breitbart, Republican nominee Ed Gillespie took a one-point lead over Northam in a recent poll.
President Obama made critical remarks about Trump at a rally for a Democrat candidate for Virginia governor. Should he stay out of politics now that he is no longer president?
Observers see the Virginia race as a tell for electoral trends across the country. As the Washington Post notes, Democrats will be playing defense in the pivotal 2018 elections.
About 40 percent of Democrat seats being contested are in states Donald Trump won in November. As The Hill notes, Republicans have complete control over the legislature and governorship in 26 states, giving them the electoral edge over Democrats.