Former President Barack Obama said the November midterm elections will give Americans “a chance to restore some sanity in our politics”, taking another swipe at his successor as he raised his profile campaigning for fellow Democrats to regain control of the House.
He didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name during a 20-minute speech on Saturday in the key Southern California battleground of Orange County but the allusions were clear.
‘A challenging moment’
“We’re in a challenging moment because, when you look at the arc of American history, there’s always been a push and pull between those who want to go forward and those who want to look back, between those who want to divide and those are seeking to bring people together, between those who promote the politics of hope and those who exploit the politics of fear,” he said at the Anaheim Convention Center. “If we don’t step up, things can get worse,” he said. “In two months, we have the chance to restore some sanity to our politics. We have the chance to flip the House of Representatives and make sure there are real checks and balances in Washington.”
Mr. Obama gave shout-outs to seven Democratic candidates in competitive House districts across California that are considered crucial to the party’s efforts to oust Republicans from control. Four of those districts are at least partly in Orange County, a formerly reliable GOP bastion that went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
“We’re going to put on our marching shoes, we’re going to start knocking on some doors, we’re going to start making some calls,” he said to cheers. Ms. Clinton trounced Mr. Trump by more than four million votes in California in 2016 and carried Orange County by nine percentage points.
Eyeing Republican seats
Democrats, hoping to build on their 39-14 advantage in the State’s congressional delegation, are eyeing Republican seats in districts that Ms. Clinton won in 2016. Each of the seven candidates that Mr. Obama campaigned for fit that description.
California Republicans said Mr. Obama’s appearance would have little impact and may even help their party. Vice-President Mike Pence said it was disappointing that Mr. Obama is back on the campaign trail criticising Mr. Trump.
Mr. Obama is expected to deliver a similar message in Cleveland on Thursday, when he campaigns on behalf of Richard Cordray, the nominee for Ohio Governor, and other Democrats.