One of the reasons I believe that Hillary Clinton will win in November is because of the efforts of the current head of the Democratic party, President Barack Obama. He has grown increasingly popular as the economy has improved over the last year and as the rise of Trump has proven false the claims Republicans have made about being a serious alternative to the White House as a way forward for America.
As the final stretch of the 2016 campaign nears, President Obama is making the case that in order to continue his legacy and to protect the programs that have improved the lives of tens of millions of us, voters need to back Hillary Clinton, especially voters of color, and that message is starting to really hit home.
President Barack Obama said Saturday night he will take it as a "personal insult" if the African-American community fails to turn out for the presidential election and encouraged black voters to support Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Obama delivered his final keynote address to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, symbolically passing the torch to the person he hopes will succeed him next year. Clinton, his former secretary of state, was honored for becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major party.
Obama said his name may not be on the ballot, but issues of importance to the black community were, including justice, good schools and ending mass incarceration.
"I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election," Obama said with a stern look and booming passion. "You want to give me a good send-off, go vote."
For the last two presidential election cycles, the pundits and the Republicans have badly underestimated voters of color and especially the black vote in this country, and record turnout among black voters has helped propel Democrats across the country. 2016 will be no different, and Barack Obama is a major reason why. We're going to be there for Hillary, if only to save the country from itself. We turned out at a higher rate than white voters in 2012, but there's still much room for improvement.
In her own pitch to African-Americans at the same dinner, Clinton implored the crowd to help protect Obama's legacy, warning of a "dangerous and divisive vision" that could come from Republican opponent Donald Trump.
Obama joked about the "birther" issue long promoted and now dismissed by Trump, telling his audience that there's an extra spring in his step now that the "whole birther thing is over." But his main message was about voter turnout among blacks.
He turned quite serious when speaking about voting. He said Republicans have actively added barriers to voting by closing polling places mostly in minority communities, cutting early voting and imposing more voter ID requirements. He called the efforts a national scandal, but even if all restrictions on voting were eliminated, African-Americans would still have one of the lowest voting rates.
"That's not good. That is on us," Obama said. He then told the crowd if they wanted to give Michelle Obama and him a good send-off, "don't just watch us walk off into the sunset, now. Get people registered to vote."
Obama also sought to blunt Trump's recent efforts to reach out to black voters, saying Trump at one point in the race had said there's never been a worse time to be a black person.
"I mean, he missed that whole civics lesson about slavery and Jim Crow, but we've got a museum for him to visit," Obama said, a reference to next week's opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. "We will educate him."
You're damn right we will, Mr. President.
Count on it.