Former president Barack Obama did not call out Donald Trump by name in his speech railing against “demagogues” with empty promises, but there was no doubt who he was talking about at an Ohio rally earlier this week.
Obama was at the rally to support Democratic governor nominee Richard Cordray ahead of the midterm elections. In Ohio, a critical swing state, Democrats are in the minority in every level of government. In 2016, Trump eeked by Hillary Clinton to win the state by 8 points during the presidential election.
Wanting to prevent a similar outcome in 2020, Obama stumped for Cordray in particular, but also had a more general message about the state of politics and how to move forward.
“When there’s a vacuum in our democracy, when we don’t vote, when we take our basic rights for granted – other voices fill the void and demagogues who promise simple fixes to complicated problems,” said the 44th president. He did not speak Trump’s name, but did make mention of “that person in the White House.”
“None of this is normal,” Obama continued while also seeming to take credit for laying the ground work for the economy’s current strength. “Even the folks who won don’t seem happy. Have you noticed that? The Republicans won the House, they won the Senate. They’re still mad, which is interesting. So just remember when you hear about these folks bragging about this economic period, just remember when it started.”
But above everything, Obama implored the people of Ohio to go beyond complaining and get to the polls. “You can’t just mutter to yourself while you’re watching TV. You can’t just move. You’ve got to vote’.
Obama is on a nation-wide tour to endorse candidates and get voters in action as the midterm elections approach. He was previously in Anaheim, California and Urbana, Illinois.