- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Former President Obama says Democrats and “prophetic” Black Lives Matter activists are set for success if they continue speaking to “reality-based” constituents.

The 44th commander in chief stopped by Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” this week to promote his latest memoir, “A Promised Land,” when the subject turned to his recent warnings about “defund the police” rhetoric and other political issues.

Mr. Obama told Trevor Noah that Black Lives Matter was a source of inspiration for him since they accomplished more than he could in his youth.

“People have asked me what’s my source of optimism,” he said Tuesday. “Uniformly, what I have said is nothing made me more optimistic during a very difficult year than the activism that we saw in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter. And I have consistently believed that their courage, activism, media-savvy, strategic resolve, far exceeds anything I could have done at their age, and I think has shifted the conversation in ways that I would not have even imagined a couple of years ago.”

The Democrat then gave kudos to the activists for saying and doing what he considers to be off-limits for an American politician.

“Everybody has different roles to play,” Mr. Obama added. “An activist, a movement leader, is gonna provide a prophetic voice and speak certain truths that somebody who is going to be elected into office will not be able to say.”

Mr. Noah used the comments to then ask why Republicans continue to have electoral success. He postulated that Democrats appear hamstrung by a need to appear moderate. 

“Is it just a political thing in America where if you’re in the Republican Party, you can be completely bombastic in what you believe in. And then, as a Democrat, you’re trying to toe the line between centrist and left-leaning?” Mr. Noah asked.

“The Republican Party is the minority party in this country,” Mr. Obama replied. “The only reason that it doesn’t look like the majority party is because of structures like the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College that don’t render them the majority party. So they have certain built-in advantages around power given their population distribution and how our government works.”

Mr. Obama then asserted that perceived popularity with Republican policy ideas is in many ways an illusion.

“The truth of the matter is that 60 percent of the people are occupying what I would consider a more reality-based universe, and those are the constituents we’re speaking to, and that is a more diverse group. [Republicans] have to do less work, but it also that they’re — they can talk to themselves and, as a consequence of the way our democracy, our republic is structured, they don’t have to appeal to as broad of a base. That’s not fair. I, at least, would prefer not having the progressives model ourselves on the current Republican Party.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide