President Barack Obama needs your help. This year’s midterm elections, taking place nationwide on November 4, are crucial to the President’s legislative agenda in his last two years in office.
“We know what we’ve got to do,” he says. “We’ve got to increase the minimum wage. We’ve got to make sure that women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same work. We’ve got to rebuild our infrastructure. We’ve got to make sure that young people – our youngest children – are getting early childhood education that helps them succeed. All these things we could be doing right now, if we had a Congress that was willing to cooperate.”
The President says that when the Black vote doesn’t turn out in the midterm elections, Republicans are able to dominate those contests. That’s why, he says, Congress is Republican-controlled right now and he’s often unable to get through important legislation. Democrats, especially, seem to view the midterms as less important, something the President says is due to several factors.
“We’re younger, there are more minorities, more low-income folks, more working folks, so they’re not always high consumers of information. And so, a lot of times, what ends up happening is that they don’t even know sometimes a midterm’s coming up. They know when there’s a Presidential race, but what folks don’t always realize is that voting for Congress and the Senate and the gubernatorial races – that’s going to have as much impact on anything as who the President is.
If I don’t have a Congress I can work with, then I’m not going to get a higher minimum wage, even if I want it. We’re not going to get early childhood education, even if I’m putting it in my budget. So we have to vote now.”
The President is aware that there are several states where voting rights have been encroached upon, including Georgia, which reportedly has “lost” 40,000 voter registrations. That’s among several issues in a number of states now that a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been decimated.
“Less than half of our folks vote,” Obama says. “If they did all the trickery that they did, it probably affects 1 – 2% of our vote. There’s still 48% of our folks who could be voting but just decided they didn’t feel like it.”
Obama says each election is important but that this one is critical to help him move things forward that most Americans care about.
“We’ll get a lot of stuff done whether or not Congress wants to help,” he says. “But the big things that would give people a boost in terms of higher wages and help on childcare and rebuilding some of our roads and bridges and putting more people back to work and getting more apprenticeships and job training for young people and trying to further reform the criminal justice system, something that Eric Holder and I have been working on, a lot of that depends on me having a Congress I can work with.”
President Obama says you can head over to Iwillvote.com to find out more about early voting in your state and other voting information.
“It’s not going to be as exciting as a presidential race. We’re not going to have all the big rallies and all the bells and whistles and all the attention. That’s just not something you can do in a midterm election where these are individual Senate races or House races. But part of us growing up politically, maturing politically – it’s recognizing it’s not always exciting. It’s not always bells and whistles. Sometimes, you just do your job. And folks’ jobs right now -it’s not sexy and it’s not exciting – go vote. It will help determine how much I can get done in these last two years.”