Former U.S. President Barack Obama has been traveling across the country, giving speech after speech supporting the Democratic Party as the November mid-term elections loom closer. This weekend was no different, and this Saturday, Obama made a 20-minute speech at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County, California, AP reported. Southern California is a key battleground as Democrats work to oust Republicans from their stranglehold on elected positions in the area.
“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,” Obama said.
During his speech, Obama highlighted the seven Democratic candidates currently running in the region and in highly contested counties. Democratic wins in these areas would be considered crucial by the party. Democrats running include Katie Porter, a law professor at the University of California in Irvine, Environmental lawyer Mike Levin, real estate investor Harley Rouda, Gil Cisneros, a Democratic philanthropist and Navy veteran, venture capitalist Josh Harder, nonprofit executive Katie Hill, and T.J. Cox. All of these candidates are working to unseat Republican positions.
While voters in California stepped it up for Clinton in the 2016 presidential elections, giving her a 4 million vote edge over Trump, Orange County has remained steadfastly Republican. As the make up of California has shifted over the last several years, with its residents now a majority people of color, the margin by which Republicans have been achieving victory in Orange County has majorly decreased. The Democratic party is hopeful that this is the election that will turn the county blue.
While in his speech, Obama did not bash Trump directly, he did make some digs that could only be attributed to the current president. Obama’s Orange County speech came just one day after his first public critiques of Trump during a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“If we don’t step up, things can get worse,” former president Obama told the cheering crowd. “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.”