1 of 3 | Former US President Barack Obama speaks at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum Thursday, in New York City. Obama says the midterm elections offer hope for democracy, with a majority of voters "thumping" anti-democratic election deniers. Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Former President Barack Obama said election deniers got "thumped" at the midterm polls by Democratic campaigns and organizers, offering hope for democracy.
"They got beat. And particularly in these secretary of state races, and in some cases, governor's races, where in the next presidential election you could have somebody who could really do some damage there," Obama said during an interview on The Daily Show on Thursday.
Obama said young voter turnout helped hold the line against election deniers who were seeking positions of power over administration of elections in key battleground states.
"Because of some really concentrated efforts in a lot of important states, some of the most egregious, prominent and potentially dangerous election deniers, they got thumped," Obama said.
Obama said Democrats recruited some excellent candidates.
"You look at Wes Moore in Maryland, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania. You look at our senate candidates, John Fetterman, Mark Kelly. They are committed, passionate, down to earth," Obama said. "They connect with people."
Young people are voting, Obama said, and young voters increased their engagement when former President Trump was in office.
"And they're typically voting at a rate of 70-30, 60-40 Democrat to Republican," Obama said, "And that makes a huge difference."
Democracy itself, is in peril, according to Obama. And not just here but around the world. But he said when democracy is undermined in the United States, it sends a signal all around the world that weakens democracy.
For democracy to succeed, he said, people have to learn how to get along with people who have different views.
But Obama said results of the midterm elections offer hope for strengthening and preserving democracy.
"I like to think part of what happened in this election is it turns out that there is a majority of the country that does prefer normal, not crazy. And that's a basis for hope," Obama said to applause and cheers from "The Daily Show" audience.
In a keynote speech at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum on Thursday night, Obama warned that "escalating polarization and disinformation" has been evident in elections in the United States and abroad.
"Let me be clear, here -- the threat to democracy doesn't always run along a conservative/liberal, left/right axis. This has nothing to do with traditional partisan lines or policy preferences. What we are seeing, what's being challenged, are the foundational principles of democracy itself," he said.
Obama also delivered a message of unity, noting that "people who are accustomed to being at the top of the pecking order" have begun to feel their societal status "threatened when the existing order goes through rapid changes."
"We're going to have to figure out how to live together or we will destroy each other," he said.