Former President Barack Obama: ‘If you don’t like what’s going on, don’t hashtag—vote.’

By Alexandra Yetter, Staff Reporter

Former President Barack Obama chastised the Republican Party for using fear mongering and lies in their bids for political office during the 2018 gubernatorial elections.

“Why is it you’ve got one party that is always trying to discourage people from voting? I really disagree with Republican ideas, [but] you have never heard me say or do something designed to prevent them from voting,” Obama said during a Nov. 4 Get Out the Vote rally. “I want everybody voting; if you don’t agree with me, you should still vote.”

The rally, held at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave., was a campaign stop for Obama to endorse prominent Democrats on Illinois ballots, including J.B. Pritzker for governor, Secretary of State Jesse White, Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten for Congress, and Kwame Raoul for attorney general. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin made appearances during the event, and musician Common performed.

The politicians used the stage to criticize the Trump administration’s agenda, as well as Gov. Bruce Rauner, and encourage the crowd to vote.

“[Rauner] saddled you with over a billion dollars in late payment interest policies for being a deadbeat on paying the state’s bills. That’s Bruce Rauner’s legacy,” State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said during the rally.

The candidates used their time on stage to tout their campaign platforms, particularly universal healthcare and Republicans’ views of Obamacare.

Underwood, a congressional candidate in the 14th district running against Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren, is a former advisor to Obama, a registered nurse and has pre-existing conditions, she said.

“Healthcare is a human right,” Underwood said. “[I intend] to be the first woman, the first person of color, the first millennial to represent my community in Congress.”

Rauner and Hulgren did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

Obama scolded Republicans for claiming to protect coverage of preexisting conditions on their campaign trails when the party has repeatedly tried to sabotage the law, he said.

Raoul—the son of a Haitian immigrant—berated Trump’s proposed executive order to no longer provide citizenship to those born on American soil in his address.

“I am a birthright baby. I’m a proud American. Neither Trump or his bigoted rhetoric, nor his proposal for [an] unconstitutional executive order can take that away from me,” Raoul said.

Musician Common advocated for activism and bipartisanship between songs to end gun violence, bigotry and racism, and added that he is going to hold Pritzker accountable.

Obama echoed his support for bipartisanship in voting.

“If [you’re] cynical about voting, you are right that one election doesn’t change everything. One election is not going to eliminate all racism or sexism; one election is not going to suddenly end poverty or gun violence, but what an election can do is make things better,” Obama said. “If you don’t like what’s going on, do not complain, do not boo, do not hashtag—vote.”