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Former president Barack Obama accused Republicans of counting on voters’ cynicism to limit voter turnout and aid their effort to “take away your democracy” in his speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.
In a live address delivered from Philadelphia, the former president asked voters to “embrace your own responsibility as citizens to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure,” adding that he understands “why a young person might look at politics right now — the circus of it all, the meanness and the lies and conspiracy theories — and think ‘What is the point?’”
“Well here is the point: This president and those in power, those who benefit from keeping things the way they are, they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can’t win you over with their policies, so they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote and to convince you that your vote does not matter,” he continued.
Obama’s comments are in line with the longstanding myth perpetrated by Democrats that Republicans aim to suppress voting to win elections.
He went on to say that cynicism is how the economy “will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and the connected” and how “our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks.”
“That’s how a democracy withers until it’s no democracy at all,” he said. “We cannot let that happen. Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy.”
Earlier in his speech, Obama took aim at the president saying, “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t and the consequences of that failure are severe.”
“I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies,” Obama said. “I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.”
“But he never did,” he said.