Obama Gets Fired Up And Asks Democrats For Blue Wave

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Former President Barack Obama joined what was apparently a pair of campaign events in Pennsylvania this weekend, where he supported Democratic contenders running in the state, including Senate pick John Fetterman.

In a speech, Obama criticized Republicans for some of their tactics, including suppressing the vote and deceptively stoking fear. Even if a Republican official might claim their new electoral rules aren’t intentionally meant for voter suppression, in an array of cases that’s exactly what these rules do, whether through making accessing drop boxes, participating in mail-in voting, or casting a ballot on Election Day potentially more difficult. These are the rules on which many Republican leaders are running as the election approaches, despite the lack of systematic integrity problems with U.S. elections warranting sweeping alterations to the system. In Pennsylvania, where Obama spoke, Doug Mastriano — the GOP pick for governor — supports a roll-back of universal mail-in voting, an arrangement he originally supported. Mail-in voting is accessible to all eligible voters in numerous states, without a sweeping problem emerging.

“It depends on you,” Obama said. “Now, Republicans know this, and that’s why they’re doing everything they can to prevent you from voting. This is one of the only major parties worldwide that actively tries to discourage citizens from voting… They pass laws to make it harder to vote. They’re, a lot of times — many of the elected officials, or the people who are running to run elections right now, are suggesting that maybe they would not count votes, nullify votes, overturn votes. But the big tactic that they’re going to use, because they always do this, especially in midterms, year after year, election after election, they will try to make you afraid. They will resort to fear. They want to scare the living daylights out of everybody. Most of the time, those fears have a very slender relationship to reality.”

Check out Obama’s comments below:

Obama also discussed some of his own experiences with this issue, including in the 2010 midterms — the first of his tenure as president. Once Republicans gained power, the party seemed less concerned with the kind of sweeping financial considerations — aka, the deficit — on which they spent so much time in past elections including 2010. As for the threat to the outcomes of elections, Wisconsin’s GOP pick for governor, Tim Michels, won’t commit to certifying the outcome of the 2024 election if he wins, and he has also apparently left open the option of pursuing the invalidation of the state’s election results from 2020 — a legally untenable option that could nonetheless create chaos if pursued. Sen. Ron Johnson (R), running for re-election in the same state, won’t commit to accepting the results of his race. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Republicans already exert substantial levels of control in the state legislatures (thanks, gerrymandering), and a Republican winning the governorship could essentially green-light their most extreme proposals, including suppressive electoral rules governors in both states have rejected.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons