Among the names most floated to replace him is not Vice President Kamala Harris—who suffers from an abysmal approval rating herself—but another black woman with firsthand experience working from the White House.
Michelle Obama was an early-rumored frontrunner to challenge then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election before pooh-poohing the notion by saying she didn’t want the job.
But the Obamas may have been playing the long game, using Biden as a patsy to tear down democratic institutions and to leave the rebuilding to someone with no political baggage of her own.
The former First Lady appeared to take subtle jabs at her husband’s erstwhile second-in-command in a speech telling voters not to be disheartened or deterred by the current leadership failures.
Obama urged Americans on Monday not to tune out of the gridlocked political system and said voting—and enlisting millions of new voters—is a pathway to change in a deeply polarized nation.
It was a remarkable statement given the fact that Democrats hold both the executive and legislative branches and have chosen to govern from the extreme Left instead of the center.
“Protecting and expanding our democracy is the best and only path out of this mess,” Obama said during her keynote address at the Los Angeles summit of a national voting organization she helped create.
“Our democracy is fading,” she continued. “Sometimes it’s just easier to look away.”
True to form, she implied that it was Republican policies that were to blame for the incessant stream of domestic conflicts and controversies, attacking an array of issues such as social media, gun rights, redistricting, election-integrity laws and the Jan. 6 uprising at the Capitol.
“No one has the luxury to sit out or stay at home just because you’re not feeling excited enough,” she said, echoing the same trite cliches that she included in stump speeches prior to the 2020 election. “If you don’t vote, other people will.”
Obama has operated under the auspices of a tax-exempt nonpartisan 503(c) charity while using dogwhistles directed at deeply partisan audiences to push her true agenda—a boldly ironic move given her husband’s weaponizing of the IRS against similar Republican-backed nonprofits.
Her speech marked the conclusion of When We All Vote’s inaugural Culture of Democracy Summit. The sparsely attended event was held at a soccer stadium near downtown LA.
Obama helped launch When We All Vote in 2018 to help register eligible voters in the United States.
Democrats nationally are facing a challenging political year. Midterm elections typically punish the party that holds the White House, and Biden is unpopular with most voters.
Obama noted that record levels of voters turned out in 2020, when the presidency was on the line. However, turnout in California’s primary election last week was light.
“I want to implore every American who cares about our democracy not to just get angry or dejected. I want you to get active,” she said. “We’ve got to change the way we think about our democracy. And we’ve got to change the way we participate in it. Not just every two or four years, but as a routine part of the way we all live.”
“Every voice counts, and every vote matters,” she said.
Organizers said it was Obama’s first, in-person appearance before a larger audience since the start of the pandemic. She last addressed When We All Vote in person in 2018 before the midterm elections.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press