Obama campaigns in California urging voters to 'restore' sanity in politics

By Susan McFarland

Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Former President Barack Obama on Saturday was back in the spotlight urging voters in California to elect seven Democratic candidates, telling the crowd they have a chance to "restore some sanity in our politics."

The message comes a day after Obama delivered a scathing critique of President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Washington at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.


Obama's speech at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California, a region traditionally held by Republicans, was a stump for Democrats Josh Harder, TJ Cox, Katie Hill, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin.

Obama told voters the dismay they feel about Washington right now is meaningless if they don't go to the polls.

"It's a consequential moment in our history," Obama said. "And the fact is that, if we don't step up, things can get worse. Where there's a vacuum in our democracy, when we are not participating, we're not paying attention, when we're not stepping up -- other voices fill the void."

The "good news" Obama said is "in two months we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics. We have the chance to flip the House of Representatives and make sure that there are real checks and balances in Washington."


The former president said he rejects the politics of fear and division and said all people deserve equal treatment.

"There are people out there right now that are counting on us to make sure they still have health care after this election," Obama said. "That's on the ballot."

Obama did not mention Trump on Saturday and instead said the problems in Washington are bigger than one person.

"The biggest threat to our democracy ... is not one individual, it is not one big super PAC of billionaires," Obama said. "It is apathy, it is indifference, it is us not doing what we are supposed to do."

The speech called for citizens to take it upon themselves to "do it differently."

"It is always tempting for politicians, for their own gain, and for people in power, to try to see if they can divide people, scapegoat folks, turn them on each other because when that happens, you get gridlock and government doesn't work and people get cynical and they decide not to participate," he said. "That unfortunately has been a spiral that we have been on for the last couple of years."

Obama also delivered a message via a NowThis video released Saturday urging young people to get out and vote.


"We're in an urgent time. We've seen basic norms and principles that have served us well for decades increasingly violated," Obama said. "Not to mention policies that have further skewed toward the wealthy and powerful."

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