Michigan: Don’t Boo, Vote!

Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Remarks as Delivered at Rally in Support of Michigan Democratic Candidates

Hello, Detroit.

Are you fired up here? Are you ready to go and vote? It is good to be back in Michigan, especially when it’s 65 degrees in late October. You know, Chicago is not that far away, so I know this is not your usual weather. You cannot fool me.

Let me just get this out of the way because I know it’s controversial. I will not be weighing in on the Wolverine Spartans, that — I’m not touching that. I’m not touching it. I know where the governor’s at, but I cannot get involved. I’m not siding on that. I mean, I was just out in Georgia. I was just down in Georgia. They’re feeling pretty good about their Bulldogs right now, but I know the Wolverines and Coach Harbaugh, I guess, has something to say about that come playoff time. And I know Governor Whitmer’s pulling for the upset tonight, but I’m not here to talk about college football.

I am here — you may be surprised to know I am here to ask you to vote for your Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, for your Attorney General, Dana Nessel, for your Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, and for your Lieutenant Governor, Garlin Gilchrist, and for the great Governor of the great State of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer.

And you’ve got two ways to vote. Number one, you can vote early by going to your local clerk’s office, requesting an absentee ballot and voting right there. Have you tried that? It works.

Number two, you can vote at your polling place on November 8th. And if you need more information, you go to MichiganDems.com/vote to find out where, and then you make a plan to vote, because you don’t want to leave it to the last minute and then something happens with your muffler, right? You don’t want to mess up.

Then after you’ve got your plan, and you voted, you’ve got to help your friends and your family to make a plan to vote. Because I’m assuming if you are here, you are likely to vote. My Cousin Pookie, I like — no, I like Pookie, but sometimes he forgets to — so you’ve got to get on him a little a bit. You’ve got to talk to, you know, Uncle Fred. You know, he can forget.

Take them with you, if you vote early, or if you’re voting in person on Election Day because this election requires every single one of us to do our part. It is that important.

Now, I think it’s fair to say that this country has gone through some tough times these past few years. We have been through some stuff. We are just now coming out of an historic pandemic that wreaked havoc on families, on businesses, on communities, on schools. I am talking to the lovely principal of this school.

There she is, right there. By the way, one thing that happens as you get older, principals, police officers, doctors, pilots, they all start looking really young to you. Are you sure you are in charge? But she was describing how difficult it was during COVID, right?

So everybody was impacted, and a lot of folks lost people that they loved. And the pandemic also highlighted, and in some cases made worse, problems that we’ve been struggling with for years, an economy that all too often works for the folks at the very top but doesn’t work for ordinary people. Communities where there are too many kids who are out of school or out of work. They are out of hope, and sometimes that leads them to violence and despair.

And then you’ve got an erosion of just civility, acting right, including in our politics, our democratic norms. We’ve got politicians who work to stir up division, to try to make us angry and afraid of one another for their own advantage. And all of it gets amped up, hyped up, 24/7, by social media, because a lot of times those for-profit platforms find it more profitable to feed you controversy and conflict instead of facts and truth.

And sometimes it can turn dangerous. You know, I want to take a moment to say a prayer for a friend of mine, Mr. Paul Pelosi, who was attacked, 82 years old, and was attacked when somebody broke into his home looking for his wife, Nancy. And thankfully, doctors believe he’s going to be okay, and we’ll let the investigators do their jobs, but here’s one thing that we can feel, that we know. If our rhetoric about each other gets that mean, when we don’t just disagree with people, but we start demonizing, making wild, crazy allegations about them, that creates a dangerous climate.

And if elected officials don’t do more to explicitly reject that kind of rhetoric, if they tacitly support it, or encourage their supporters to stand up outside voting places armed with guns and dressed in tactical gear, more people can get hurt. And we’re going to be violating the basic spirit of this country.

(Protester shouting.)

Yes, so sir, sir — the only — come on, but this is what I mean. This is what I mean. I mean, we’re having a conversation –

(Chanting.)

Come on. Sir, this is what I’m saying. Look, we’ve got a — there is a process that we set up in our democracy. Right now, I’m talking. You’ll have a chance to talk sometime.

That’s not a good way to do business. You wouldn’t do that in the workplace. You wouldn’t just interrupt people in the middle of a conversation. It’s not how we do things, and this is part of the point that I want to make.

Just basic civility and courtesy works, and that’s what we want to try and encourage. So let’s, that’s okay — no, no, no — wait, wait, wait — quiet down, quiet down.

Look, listen — hey, hold on, hold on — hold on, hold up — hold on a minute! This is — listen everybody — hey, you all over there, pay attention. Here’s what happens — listen, no, no — I mean, this is part of — not only is this an example of what I’m talking about, but it’s also an example of how we get distracted.

Suddenly, we’re all, we’re — you all have seen that movie, Up, that Disney one? Remember the dog, and the dog’s talking — squirrel — where they turn and — that’s us. That’s us with politics. We get distracted instead of focusing on what’s important.

So, look, I get why people are anxious. I understand why people are anxious. I understand why you might be worried about the course of the country. I understand why sometimes it’s tempting just to tune out, watch football and watch Dancing with the Stars. But I’m here to tell you that tuning out is not enough. Moping is not enough.

You know, I didn’t mope as a kid. Mostly, but sometimes our kids kind of start getting whiny or mopey. My mother would be like, “You know what will make you feel better, go clean your room!”

“Do something useful.” And I said, “Actually, that won’t make me feel better,” and she said, “All right, but it will make me feel better.”

We don’t have time to mope. The only way to make this economy fairer is if we fight for it, all of us. The only way to save our democracy is if we together work for it, all of us. And that starts with electing people who know you, and who see you, and who care about you! Who understand what you’re going through, day in and day out?

You did that two years ago when you sent Joe Biden to the White House. He is fighting for you every day. He’s got your back.

He’s doing everything he can to put more money in your pockets, to make your streets safer, to bring back even more good-paying jobs here to Michigan.

You did it when you voted to send Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow to the Senate and Brenda Lawrence and Rashida Tlaib and Haley Stevens, who worked, by the way, in our White House, to help save the auto industry. That’s who you sent to Congress.

You did it when you voted for Gretchen Whitmer for governor. Now you need to do it again.

You’ve got to do it again. Because there may be a lot of issues at stake in this election, but the basic question you should always be asking yourself — and especially right now — is who will fight for you? Who’s on your side? Not, not, not — not who talks a good game, but who has walked the walk?

So we had a little photo and before I came in here and the new President of UAW was in the photo line, and you don’t have to believe what I say. You can see what I do! Because there’s a reason why the auto industry is thriving, here in Michigan, and it’s because you chose people who cared about auto workers in the communities in Michigan.

That’s the kind of people you want representing you, and that’s the choice in this election. Who is going to work and fight for working people who are struggling to pay the bills?

Right. Now, listen. Inflation is a real problem right now. Sometimes we don’t want to talk about certain issues. It’s a problem not just here in America. It’s a problem worldwide. It’s one of the legacies of the pandemic that wreaked havoc on supply chains. And folks in the auto industry understand what happened. You couldn’t get parts, and suddenly there aren’t as many cars, and prices go up. And so that triggered inflation. And then we got a war in Ukraine that sent gas prices through the roof.

Listen, if you see gas prices and grocery prices going up, that’s taking a bite out of your paycheck. That hurts. The question is — the question is, who’s actually going to do something about it?

The Republicans talk about it, but what’s their answer? What’s their economic policy? They want — do we have another person yelling at me? Is that — is that what you’re doing?

No, no, no. We don’t have to chant. It will be all right.

Whereas I –wait, wait, wait. I was getting to a good part here, and you’re about to be distracted again. Remember what I said now, don’t be like that dog in Up. Squirrel, squirrel. Don’t be distracted because I was making an important point here.

So inflation is a problem. What is the Republican answer? Look, I mean, if they had a great answer, that would be one thing, but you know what their big economic policy is? They want to gut Social Security and Medicare and then give big tax cuts to the wealthy and some of the most successful corporations in the world. That’s their agenda.

And by the way, that’s their answer for everything. Debbie knows. Gary knows. Back in 2008, 2010, inflation was low, and unemployment was high. What was their answer? Tax cuts for the wealthy and cut back on Social Security and Medicare.

It doesn’t matter what the problem is, no matter what — listen, if there was an asteroid heading towards Earth, and we got everybody in the room and said, “What are we going to do?”

“I think we should cut taxes for the wealthy.”

No, that’s not going to help you. That’s — how’s that going to help you? I mean, it’s great, I guess, if you only have one answer to every economic problem. It would be like if you were just taking a math test, and you just said eight, every time, and that was always — those answers won’t help you.

That’s why Democrats have actual plans to take on drug companies to get lower prices, to get the oil industry to clean up its act, to pass laws to make housing more affordable.

Leaders like Gretchen Whitmer are working to make sure cars are being built and high-tech manufacturing is being done right here in Michigan instead of China.

That’s an actual plan, and that’s the choice in this election. That’s what this is all about. You hear the Republicans talk a lot about crime, right now, and violent crime has gone up over the last seven years, by the way. They acted like it happened just last year. They act like the previous president wasn’t there.

And by the way, it didn’t just happen in so called “blue states,” because it turns out it’s gone up in conservative rural states too, where the Republicans are in charge, but they don’t mention that in the ads.

So here is the question, who will fight to keep you and your family safe?

I like how the band kind of chimes in. I see you there, I see you. Look, is it the Republican politicians who want to flood our streets with more guns, who actually voted against more resources for police departments? Or is it leaders like Gary Peters, Debbie Stabenow, Haley Stevens, Rashida Tlaib, and Brenda Lawrence, who worked with President Biden to pass the first major gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years?

That’s your choice in this election. That’s what’s at stake right now. Michigan, who will fight for your freedom? Is it a bunch of Republican politicians and judges who think they should get to decide when you start a family or how many children you have, who you marry or who you love? Or is it leaders like Gretchen Whitmer who believe that the freedom to make these personal decisions belong to every American, not politicians in Washington?

That’s the choice in this election. That’s why you have to decide. Who is going to fight violence? Who is going to fight to make our democracy actually work?

I’ve been reading up on some of these candidates on the other side. Lord, have mercy. They have promised — they promised that if they get control of Congress, they’ll spend the next two years investigating their political opponents, including Joe Biden. Some of them said they will impeach Joe Biden, but if you ask them what for? They are not sure yet.

You are laughing, but it’s true. They’re all like, “Well, I don’t know, we’re kind of … we’re trying to figure it out.”

Now, here’s the question, how is that going to help you and your family if that’s all they’re spending their time doing? How is that going to help Michigan compete? Or do you stand a better chance with President Biden and Democratic leaders who’ve worked together, sometimes with Republicans, to pass an infrastructure bill that will create new jobs, who’ve made health care and prescription drugs more affordable? Who made the single largest investment ever to fight climate change?

That’s the choice in this election between politicians who seem willing to do anything to get power and leaders like Gretchen who share our values, leaders who are practical and just want to make your lives better and move this country forward.

And let me be clear about this mission, because sometimes I’m at these democratic rallies, and I feel — I feel a little sad about this because this hasn’t always been such a starkly partisan thing. You know, my favorite president was a guy named Abe Lincoln. He helped found the Republican Party.

It used to be that there were GOP members, including here in Michigan, who were actually on board with civil rights and championed investment in our infrastructure and believe in the rule of law.

It wasn’t that long ago, and you might not agree with them on everything, but you could work with them. They were your neighbors, your friends, you talked to them, and there was a practical sense of how we could get stuff done. But these days, just about every Republican politician seems obsessed with two things: owning the libs, “Oh, man, we’re going to own the libs,” and getting Donald Trump’s approval.

That seems to be their agenda. They are not, currently at least — they are not interested in actually solving problems. They are interested in making you angry and then finding somebody to blame because that way they’re going — they are hoping you may not notice, that you may be distracted from the fact that they don’t really have any answers to your problems.

Now, I can tell you what Gretchen Whitmer is obsessed with. With all the noise, and all the nonsense going on out there, all the chatter and the tweets and the TikToks, she’s focused on the fundamentals, good jobs, lower costs, better schools and fix the damn roads!

Yeah, now, Gretchen — now, Gretchen’s opponent, her plan would slash billions of dollars from education budgets.

(Booing.)

Do not boo! Vote! Booing doesn’t help. They can’t hear you boo, but they can hear you vote.

So her plan would slash billions from the education budget, change Michigan’s constitution to allow taxpayer dollars to go to private schools.

Now, Governor Gretchen made the largest investment in K-through-12 education in history, and she did it without raising taxes, by the way.

She closed the funding gap between wealthy and historically underfunded school districts, something the last four governors here in Michigan had tried and failed to do. Gretchen got it done.

She put Michiganders to work, repairing over 13,000 lane miles of road. That’s a lot of road. That’ll take you to Miami and back more than four times. She’s working to make sure that the electric cars that we’ll drive on these roads are made right here in Detroit, right here in Michigan.

That’s what you want from a public servant. You don’t want a lot of loud, crazy talk. You just want somebody who’s doing their job. That’s what Governor Whitmer is focused on.

I mean, imagine if you hire your plumber. You’ve got an overflowing toilet; it’s a problem. He comes in, and you’re waiting for the toilet to be fixed. He starts, have you heard about the latest conspiracy of the lizard people? And he starts talking to you about all this stuff. We’ve got to do something about that. You’d be like, no, no, no, I just want you to fix my toilet. You’d find another plumber.

When you’ve got a good plumber, you keep a plumber. When you’ve got somebody that knows how to do their job, you keep them doing that job.

I see you. This is great. I love having this. I should just take the band around with me everywhere. Yeah. I really do like that.

And best of all, Governor Whitmer, she really is willing to work with anybody to get stuff done. So far, she’s signed more than 900 bipartisan bills, because creating jobs and fixing roads should not be a Democratic or a Republican issue. It should be something we can all get behind.

Her opponent has different ideas, though. She seems to be focused on the latest FOX News conspiracy instead of what folks in Michigan actually need.

The other day, I did not realize this; I did not. I read about this. Somebody had to show it to me. The other day, a video came out of Governor Whitmer’s opponent claiming that Democrats have been working for decades to topple the United States, because they’re still upset about losing the Civil War — and that COVID restrictions were part of some master plan to do this.

Now, first of all, what? What? What? What? I mean, I know some folks go down these rabbit holes on the Internet. They’re up too late. But that’s like a subway tunnel. That’s deep. That’s the darkest rabbit hole I’ve ever seen.

And by the way, it’s not like this quote was from — you know, sometimes, posts get quoted way back when they were in college after a frat party bender, and they just said something. (Laughter.) And you kind of want to forgive them because you’re all like, all right, I’ve been there. I remember right after that game, we got a little stupid.

She said this two years ago, two years ago! So, I guess that’s what she actually thinks.

Imagine if instead of coming up with a story about how us having to watch Tiger King in our sweatpants was somehow, some kind of government plot, imagine if she spent some time coming up with some ideas to create more jobs here in Michigan, or to give folks more healthcare, or to improve our schools. That’s what you want from the governor of your state, somebody who’s focused on doing the job and focused on you!

And then there’s this: I mean, this is just an aside. I’m going to read you two headlines, both from The Detroit News. One says “Whitmer Signs Order Aimed at Lowering Insulin Costs in Michigan.” These are actual headlines. (Applause.) All right?

The second headline, this is the second headline: “Michigan Governor Hopeful, Tudor Dixon, Eaten By Zombies in Gory Horror Film.” I don’t actually have anything else to say.

It’s up to you, folks, whoever you think is the better choice. Come on!

I will say the storyline in the zombie film is probably more believable than what Governor Whitmer’s opponent thinks happened in the last election.

Michigan deserves somebody who is going to work every day and fight for you, somebody who’s already doing it, who’s done it not just as your governor, but for her entire career.

And by the way, you also deserve somebody who’s going to stand up for a woman’s right to make her own health choices. Abortion is a controversial issue in this country. It always has been, and I genuinely believe there are good people of conscience who may differ from me on this issue. But we should all agree that women everywhere should be able to control what happens with their own bodies. It shouldn’t be controversial to say the most that the most personal of healthcare choices should be made by a woman and her doctor, and not politicians.

And that’s why when the Supreme Court struck down Roe versus Wade, it was a wakeup call for a lot of people, especially young women who might have taken Roe for granted. And it was a reminder that a politicized court can reinterpret what we thought was well-settled constitutional rights. We can go backwards. We don’t always just go forward. And if Republicans take back the House and the Senate, we could be one presidential election away from a nationwide ban on access to abortion. And that could be the beginning.

Look, I taught constitutional law for over a decade. I will tell you this: If a court does not believe in a zone of privacy that allows us to make certain decisions without the government interference, then other freedoms that we take for granted are at risk.

Justice Thomas has already said as much. If there’s no right to privacy, then same sex marriage will certainly be at risk. Almost every Republican in the House of Representatives already voted against guaranteeing a right to use contraception.

You think about that. If they take back power, there’s no guarantee birth control won’t be on the agenda.

Here in Michigan, this isn’t even theoretical. Abortion rights are literally on the ballot. Right now, there’s a law in the books from 1931 that would ban abortion in Michigan with no exceptions for rape or incest and could throw nurses and doctors in jail for caring for women. This is the law, by the way, 1931, this was passed when women could be fired from their job simply for being a woman, at a time when women were actively discouraged from getting an education and going to college.

But Governor Whitmer’s opponent strongly supports it, a law from 1931. She thinks politicians had the right idea back then. I mean, she probably thinks, if she watched The Handmaid’s Tale, she’s thinking, well, what’s the problem?

But you know what? The good news is Governor Whitmer has other ideas. She’s filed a lawsuit to block the 1931 law, to keep modern laws preserving these rights here in Michigan. If you vote yes on Proposition 3, you can stop this radical shift for good and restore the rights that women have had for nearly 50 years here in Michigan.

All these issues are at stake in this election, and not just for people here in the auditorium, but for people who are watching. If that’s not worth 15 minutes of your time, I don’t know what is.

But you know what? If you do need another reason to go vote, I’ll give you one more. And that is the fact that American democracy is also on the ballot.

Now, I have to admit that sometimes going out on the campaign trail feels a little harder than it used to, not just because I’m older and grayer. (Cheers.)

I don’t know if you all heard that. I’m sorry, what did you say?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You are still fine!

PRES. BARACK OBAMA: She said I was still fine. (Laughter/applause.) Okay. I’m not going to tell Michelle you said that — although Michelle does agree. She knows.

But we’re getting distracted. Squirrel! I touched on this before, but I want to repeat this.

Back when I was first running for the presidency, but even before that, when I was running for the U.S. Senate, people did not agree with me on everything, but I could go in their community, mostly Republican, mostly conservative, and I could have a conversation. I could sit in a VFW hall. I could sit in the diner, have a piece of pie, have cup coffee, talk to folks about their lives, tell them a little bit about myself. They might not end up voting for me, but they’d say, “He seems like a decent guy.” And we might persuade each other on some things, and I’d learn something because of that conversation.

And that’s, by the way, how I ended up getting a whole bunch of Republican votes. That seems crazy, but I did way back in — and that was only 2008. It wasn’t that long ago. And then, after I won, the Republican candidate, my colleague in the Senate, John McCain, graciously conceded. He wished me luck for the sake of the country.

And it feels like that basic foundation of our democracy is now at risk. And sometimes, the way this gets reported, it’s as if it’s just the same on both sides. Look, Democrats, we may not be perfect. I’m the first one to admit it.

No, no, no, hold on a second. I want to make this point.

Politicians, just like all of us, can make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, but I know somebody like a Debbie Stabenow and a Gary Peters. I’ve worked with them; I served with them in the Senate. They will still treat people who disagree with them with civility, and they will still listen to people. And they will still try to come up with common sense solutions to problems. And they prefer working with people and not being divided.

I know your governor feels the same way. And that’s how our democracy is supposed to work.

And so, part of the reason it’s harder now is because, with few notable exceptions, most Republican politicians right now are not even pretending that the rules apply to them anymore. They seem okay with just making stuff up.

Governor Whitmer’s opponent has falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen and has refused to say whether she thinks Joe Biden has won. She just can’t bring herself to do it. And I just want to explain this.

Nobody likes losing. Listen, the first time I ran for Congress, I lost the primary by 30 points. I got whopped. And let me tell you, I was frustrated. I was frustrated, too. You know what I didn’t do, though? I didn’t claim the election was rigged. I didn’t try to stop votes from being counted. I didn’t incite a mob to storm the Capitol.

I took my lumps. I figured out why my campaign hadn’t connected, and I tried to run a better race the next time, because that’s how democracy is supposed to work!

I mean, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Just like you don’t win all the time, but you don’t just tear the field down if you don’t win. Make a better team, have a better plan. But don’t tear down the game. Don’t tear down the rules.

And look, I get that democracy might not seem like the top priority right now, especially for a lot of folks where they look, and they don’t feel like it’s working for them. When you don’t see enough progress on issues that matter to you and your family, that can be frustrating. But I have to tell you, I’ve seen, and we’ve all seen, throughout history around the world, what happens when you give up on democracy.

We can see it in other countries where governments tell you what books you can and can’t read, countries that put dissidents and reporters in jail, countries where it doesn’t matter who you vote for because the outcome’s already determined, and the people in power will do whatever they want, and where corruption is rampant because there’s no accountability.

When honest, true democracy goes away, people get hurt. It has real life consequences. And that’s why generations of Americans fought and died for this idea of self-government. The idea was, I may not agree with you on everything. I may not look exactly like you. I may not have the same last name as you. I may not worship in the same way as you do. But because we are all Americans and we believe in this democracy, we’ll come up with a way to settle our differences peacefully. And sometimes, I’ll win, and sometimes, you’ll win, and then we will have a peaceful transfer of power.

That’s how this place is supposed to work. And these are rules that we teach our kids when they’re little. These aren’t even just grown-up rules. We start teaching these, Michelle and I, we started teaching Malia and Sasha this when they were two. Be fair, be honest, share, rules about how they should make group decisions. Everybody gets a say. Everybody gets a turn. If you don’t get your way, don’t throw a tantrum. Don’t take your ball and go home. Get over it. Try to do it better next time.

These are basic values, and that’s what I mean when I say that democracy is at stake in this election. And that’s why it’s so important to elect Democrats like Governor Whitmer, who will stand strong against attacks on our democracy, and make it easier for people to vote — (laughter) — leaders who won’t let conspiracy theorists or bullies keep them from doing what’s right.

That’s also why it’s so important you vote yes on Prop 2 here in Michigan, which will expand early voting and prevent state legislatures from interfering in the certification of elections. Let’s get that done, Prop 2.

And while you’re at it, make sure to elect good people up and down the ballot. Across the country, there are folks who’ve been trying to undermine our democracy, and they’re now running for office to oversee the next election. If they win, there’s no telling what might happen. That’s why we’ve got to work just as hard to elect secretaries of state, like Jocelyn Benson, as we do to elect governors and senators. Two years ago, Jocelyn stood up to smears and threats to make it easier for folks in Michigan to cast a ballot. She did the right thing because she believes in the simple idea that every citizen deserves to have their vote counted. (Applause.) That didn’t use to be controversial. These days, at least in GOP circles, it is. It shouldn’t take courage to stand up for that idea, but we’re running against some folks who don’t believe in it.

And that’s why you’ve got to support Jocelyn. You’ve got to have her back, because there are Republicans who don’t want to play by the rules, but we’ve got to keep Jocelyn in that job — because if things get close, that can make a difference.

All right, Gretchen’s got to go someplace else. She’s got to campaign other places. She’s already got you — which brings me to my final point.

You’ve got to make a difference, too. We joke in my house that Michelle can be a little glass half empty sometimes. I mean, she read the news. Sometimes, it can get her a little down. I’m the hope and change guy, so I’m usually a little more optimistic. Sometimes when she gets down about the state of the country or the state of the world, I tell her, “Everything’s going to be okay.” And I believe it will be, but I also know that things won’t be okay on their own.

We have to fight for it. We’ve got to work for it, not just on Election Day, but every day in between. That’s why this election matters, Michigan. I know these are tough times, but we’ve been through tough times before.

The thing is, we can’t give in to the temptation to give up. We can’t turn inward. We can’t see politics as a zero-sum game where anything goes, and the rules are broken. And the only way people like us win is if people like them lose. We can’t give in to that kind of thinking, because in our darkest moments, and there have been darker moments before, we have always had more in common than our politics suggests. Even when times are tough, what unites us can be stronger than what divides.

There have been certain values that bind us together as citizens, no matter who we are, where we come from, what we look like, who we love. That’s the promise of America! That’s who we are, and in this election, you’ve got a chance to vote for leaders like Gretchen Whitmer, and Garlin Gilchrist, and Jocelyn Benson, and Dana Nessel, and Rashia Tlaib, who will fight for that big, inclusive, hopeful, forward-looking America that we all believe in, an America that doesn’t fear the future, that meets its challenges honestly and boldly, an America where we may not fix all our problems overnight, but where we can make things better. And better is worth fighting for.

So, if you’re scared, if you’re anxious, if you’re frustrated, don’t complain. Don’t boo. Don’t tune out. Don’t get distracted. Don’t get bamboozled. Don’t fall for the okey-doke that says nothing you say or do matters. You go out and what?

AUDIENCE: Vote!

PRES. BARACK OBAMA: Get off your couch and what?

AUDIENCE: Vote!

PRES. BARACK OBAMA: Put down your phone and what?

AUDIENCE: Vote!

PRES. BARACK OBAMA: Vote for this incredible Michigan Democratic ticket! Help your friends, and your family, and your neighbors and your coworkers do the same. And if enough of us make our voices heard, things will be better. We will help heal what ails us. We’ll restore our democracy. We’re going to build a country that’s more fair, and more just, and more equal and more free.

That is our task. That’s our responsibility. Let’s get to work!

Thank you, Detroit. Thank you, Michigan. I love you! Let’s go do it!

Photo by Chuck Kennedy

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