Former President Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech today against the politics of fear and resentment and encouraged people to vote. He said the problem did not start with Donald Trump, but he called him by name.

“It did not start with Donald Trump,” he said. “He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past, but it’s also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”

Right-wing reaction was predictable. One commentator sniped that it was Obama “lectures” that give the U.S. Trump. In other words, I guess he means, some people resent uppity black people.


Obama’s speech might help Trump. Images of the black president helped propel Republican politicians at every level to sweeping victories in Arkansas and elsewhere. Now he’s back to wave around again.

From Vox:


“America’s dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division,” Obama said, is a tale “as old as time.” And he heavily implied that Trump follows in those demagogic footsteps:

Even though your generation is the most diverse in history with a greater acceptance and celebration of our differences than ever before, those are the kinds of conditions that are ripe for exploitation by politicians who have no compunction and no shame about tapping into America’s dark history of racial and ethnic and religious division. Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us or don’t sound like us or don’t pray like we do, that’s an old playbook.

He asked what had happened to the Republican Party.

Republicans passed a tax bill that exploded the deficit by $1.5 trillion, Obama noted. Anti-communism used to be the rallying cry of the conservative, pro-capitalism movement in America and yet now they seem perfectly comfortable with the leftover Soviet spy running Russia. Or they’re at least willing to ignore Trump’s comfort with him.

Lots more good stuff. … Walls don’t keep out terrorism or disease …. The vote is a fix …. “How hard can that be? Saying Naziism is bad?”…”We’re Americans, we’re supposed to stand up to bullies.”