Michelle Obama Is Getting Involved in the 2020 Election


I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Michelle Obama hasn’t exactly been on the sidelines for the 2020 campaign process, but the former first lady has now officially waded in, announcing a voter turnout initiative along with 31 mayors from across America.

The effort will take place through Obama’s organization When We All Vote. Founded in 2018 by the former first lady, When We All Vote is described by The Washington Post — which began the title for its story with the ominous phrase “Michelle Obama is stepping into the 2020 election” — as a “nonpartisan voting initiative.” (I’d love to see the author say those words with a straight face.)

On Thursday, Obama “announced a coalition of 31 mayors across the country who will be brainstorming and sharing lessons and practices about how to increase voter registration and civic engagement,” The Post reported.

In a Zoom call with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, she echoed one of her husband’s recent talking points: There are supposedly no adults in the room in the Trump administration.

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“This current crisis is a clear reminder of how critical it is to have competent leadership at all levels of government,” the former first lady said.

“Voting is bigger than any one party, any one issue, any one candidate, any one election,” she added. “The point is that no matter what party, what ideology, we want everyone to participate. We need your voices in this with us.”

Right. One can be sure that When We All Vote will be diligently trying to turn out votes in the red areas of swing states. Or she’ll be working hard to implement last-minute vote-by-mail schemes, one of the two.

“This pandemic will likely have a significant impact on the November election and on how voters across the country cast their ballots,” she said on the Zoom call. “Already in state and local elections, we’ve seen voters forced to choose between protecting their health and making their voices heard. And that’s absolutely not acceptable.”

Should Michelle Obama get involved in the 2020 election?

She added people needed to keep watch so that the pandemic “doesn’t turn into a crisis of democracy, too.”

This all sounds wonderful — who doesn’t like the idea of more people voting, after all? — until you realize the decidedly partisan reasoning behind the effort. One of the pleasant fictions Democrats tell themselves about their 2016 loss is that people actually wanted them to win, they just didn’t get out to vote.

“Almost half of eligible voters didn’t go to the polls in the 2016 election and a group of political scientists and data analysts found that 4.4 million people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 stayed home in 2016, including 11 percent of black voters who cast ballots for Obama in 2012 — comprising one third of abstainers,” The Post reported.

In Michelle Obama’s Netflix documentary “Becoming,” the former first lady said the day her family left the White House was “painful” since “a lot of our folks didn’t vote, so it was almost like a slap in the face.”

No one, I think, will ever be able to properly explain the condescension behind this conceit to the Democrats.

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It’s almost as if they believe their own voters weren’t competent enough to remember when the election was: “It’s the first Thursday in December, right? Febtober? I dunno.”

Either that or they were just so busy catching up on “Real Housewives of [Insert City Here]” that they simply forgot about it.

Not going out to vote is a choice — it’s essentially people saying that, while they’re not going to vote for the other party, they’re of the opinion that those who are supposed to represent them no longer do.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in the White House for eight years. This apparently wasn’t enough time to convince many people to come out and vote for Hillary Clinton.

So now they’re going to … push extra super-duper hard at guilt-tripping the people who slapped them in the face?

Again from the documentary: “I understand the people who voted for Trump,” Obama said.

“The people who didn’t vote at all, the young people, the women, that’s when you think, ‘Man, people think this is a game,’” she added.

“It wasn’t just in this election, but every midterm, every time Barack didn’t get the Congress he needed, that was because our folks didn’t show up. After all that work, they couldn’t be bothered to vote at all. That’s my trauma.”

Don’t bother explaining her electoral entitlement to her. She’s not going to get it.

As of right now, the Obamas have mostly spent the 2020 election cycle sniping from the sidelines. Indeed, it’s all they can do, given the fact that there are no mass campaign events or, at least in the case of the Biden campaign, any apparent overarching strategy.

The former president has endorsed Biden and has managed to make some headlines thanks to passive-aggressive remarks during virtual commencement speeches claiming people currently in government “aren’t even pretending to be in charge” and implying those in the administration are “[d]oing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think.”

Is this a sign that the former first couple will be taking a more active role in the race once conditions allow? That’s almost certain, although it remains to be seen how much of one.

Michelle Obama has been floated as a potential running mate for Biden, although that seems more unlikely given Biden’s age and the need for someone with concrete experience.

However, as an aggressive surrogate, the former first lady remains popular in polls.

However, polls aren’t reality.

The fact that Donald Trump is in the White House to begin with should speak to a dramatic discontent with the way the Obama administration ran the White House.

Years later, however, she’s still complaining about how, “[a]fter all that work,” her base “couldn’t be bothered to vote at all.”

That they might have been staying home for reasons other than not being bothered isn’t explored.

This should probably tell you everything you need to know about how successful her new effort might end up being.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture