Former President Barack Obama at
Milwaukee Democratic Rally
A Partisan Voice of Reason
seemed to be a lot grayer since he last appeared in Milwaukee.
But Obama still had the charm, the charisma and moral authority that has made him such a formidable force in American politics for the past 14 years. Two young
Democratic staffers at the back of the riser for the photographers started crying tears of joy when Obama came out, much like the little girls who started giggling
when Obama made a campaign appearance for Governor James Doyle back in 2006. Some things never change.
After thanking and recognizing all of the appropriate people, Obama emphasized the importance of the 2018 mid-term elections.
“I am here for one simple reason,” Obama said. “I am here to ask you to vote. This vote might be the most important election of our lifetimes. Politicians will always
tell you, ‘This one really is important.’ Except this one really is important. The stakes really are that high. The consequences of anyone sitting out of this election are
profound because America is at a crossroads right now. The healthcare of millions is on the ballot. Making sure that working families get a fair shake is on the
ballot. I think most of all; the character of our country is on the ballot.”
As a former community organizer in Chicago whose philosophies forged the strategies of his campaign for president in 2008, Obama appealed to the audience to
become equally as engaged in the 2018 mid-term elections.
“In the past, when we’ve been at these crossroads as a country, America has made the right choice,” Obama said. “But we don’t always do it right away.
Sometimes it takes too long to make the right choice. And when we do make the right choices, it’s usually not because people sit back and let history happen for us.
It’s because of folks like you, folks like me who march and mobilize and focus for a better history, focus for a better history. That’s how we abolished slavery. That’s
how we overcame the Great Depression. That’s how we liberated a mountain. That’s how workers’ rights came about and women’s rights came about and LGBT
rights came about and civil rights came about. They came about because people mobilized and did the work.”
Obama warned those in attendance about the hard road that lies ahead.
“Making this country better has never been easy,” Obama said. “It’s always been a fight. For every two steps of progressive change forward, we take one step
back with conservative retrenchment. That’s been the pattern. Every time that we pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals that all of us are created equal,
endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, whenever we start something in that direction, the status quo pushes back. You fight and win a higher
minimum wage and then Congress doesn’t increase for decades. You win the right to vote. People try to make it harder for you to vote. The powerful and the
privileged fight hard to keep what they got. And they will try to make you angry and bitter. Don’t let it distract you. They will try to exploit our history of racial division
or ethnic division or religious division. They will try to pit us against one another. They’ll tell you that everything will be okay if it just weren’t for these folks who
don’t look like you. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep their stuff, to maintain their privilege.”
By Jonathan Gramling
It had been almost four years since Barack Obama made an appearance in Wisconsin. He was scheduled
to appear with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Green Bay in June 2016. But it was
cancelled due to the mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida nightclub and it was never rescheduled.
Since Obama’s political life began on the south side of Chicago as a community organizer, Obama has
always had a special place in his heart for Wisconsin. He appeared in Milwaukee several times before he
became a candidate for U.S. president in 2007 and one of his first campaign stops was in Milwaukee, just
as Milwaukee was his first stop after formally receiving the Democratic nomination in 2008 at a Labor Day
rally on the Summerfest grounds.
Obama carried Wisconsin in 2008 and 2012 by relatively large margins. Wisconsin has been good to
The Wisconsin election for governor is squeaky close this year with Tony Evers and Governor Scott
Walker in a dead heat. The Republican and Democrats decided to bring in their top guns. On Wednesday
October 25th, President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, south of Wausau on I-39.
Two days later, Barack Obama appeared at North Division High School, a place where he had campaigned
once before. Appearances were made by the Democratic statewide candidates as well as several
Congressional candidates. While these candidates received enthusiastic applause, it paled in comparison
when Barack Obama took the stage.
Obama was looking pretty casual in an unbuttoned blue dress shirt without tie or suit jacket. And he