With the election only 11 days away, President Barack Obama addressed thousands of citizens at Cass Technical High School in Detroit Friday night, highlighting the importance of voting blue and once again voicing his support for Democratic Candidates U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and Gubernatorial Candidate Gretchen Whitmer.
Obama emphasized the stakes in the upcoming election are higher than ever.
“The main reason I am here is to make sure all of you vote in what I believe might be the most important election of our lifetime,” Obama said. “The stakes in this election are really high. Most importantly, the character of our country is on the ballot.”
Obama called out the GOP, pointing to corruption in Washington D.C.
“The outrages just piles up and you just forget stuff, so remember they promised to tackle corruption in Washington but turns out in Washington they’ve now have racked up enough indictments to field a football team,” Obama said. “You know what. I didn’t have folks in my administration get indicted. It’s not that hard.”
Obama said the only way to recover government as it should be, is to hold politicians accountable.
“When words stop meaning anything, when truth doesn’t matter, when people can just make up things, then democracy it doesn’t work.” Obama went on to say, “The only check on bad behavior is you and your vote.”
Obama and several other speakers at the event called attention to the fact that Michigan no longer has a straight ticket ballot. Democratic Candidate for Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said voters need to actively vote, not just for big ticket items but for every office.
“We need you to fill in every bubble,” Benson said. “If you don’t tell the story of all of us we may not win. We need you to tell the story.”
Obama says he sees the movement away from a straight ticket as just another step by Republican parties to repress Democratic votes. He advised the audience to remember 2008.
“A decade ago, we had just lived through one of those periods of Republican retrenchment,” Obama said. “The Democrats had to come and clean it up.”
He explained the fear surrounding the 2018 elections is no different than the fears that have surrounded previous elections.
“Right before the election they try to scare the heck out of you and then the election comes and magically everything is okay,” Obama said.
Obama said the 2014 Ebola scare and the turmoil surrounding Hillary’s emails in 2016 was no different than the fears that are propagated today by the Republican party.
“(N)ow they’re trying to convince everybody that the most important thing in this election, the thing you got to fear are there are a bunch of impoverished refugees a thousand miles away. It would be funny except sometimes we fall for it, don’t fall for it again.”
Many speakers addressed the Republican threat to healthcare, particularly healthcare for people with preexisting conditions. Michigan Congressional Candidate Elissa Slotkin said the primary reason she is running for Congress is to protect people with preexisting conditions.
“What got me into this race was my mom,” Slotkin said. “It’s important to remember this is about people, about the mission of helping people.”
Slotkin went on to explain her mother had cancer, lost her insurance and struggled five and a half years without insurance, ultimately, declaring bankruptcy.
“The man I am running against voted to gut health insurance for preexisting conditions,” Slotkin said.
Similarly, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence said issues like healthcare and the recent confirmation of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh call for women in particular to take action.
“Now women this is our year,” Lawrence said amidst applause. “If you have not been awakened, if you have not been moved, if you have not reached the level of understanding that this is our time to stand up because the next generation of girls is watching us.”
Whitmer also highlighted the gravity of the impending election in the face of the events that have taken place since the presidential election.
“We know the consequences that elections carry,” Whitmer said. “We’ve learned. We see it everyday on CNN. And I want you to remember how you felt the morning after that last presidential election.”
Obama ended the rally encouraging voters to not despair or become cynical with the current political climate but to take the power into their own hands by voting.
“I want to be honest with you, one election isn’t going to fix everything,” Obama said. “We’re not going to fix everything because of one election, but I can promise if you vote things are going to get better. The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference.”