Michelle Obama finished off the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday with a dire warning about the future of America if President Trump is re-elected.
Obama invoked the memory of Rep. John Lewis in urging supporters of Joe Biden to vote “like our lives depend on it.”
“If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can,” she said. “And they will if we don’t make a change in this election.”
Obama’s speech was pre-taped, as was much of the content on the convention’s first night. Eva Longoria was the host, switching between political speeches, video montages and testimonials from regular citizens.
The speakers focused on the “three crises” Democrats are seeking to underscore: the pandemic, mass unemployment and the crisis of racial justice.
The former first lady was tasked with running the anchor leg. She touched on each of those three issues, centering her speech on the theme of empathy.
“Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” Obama said. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.”
Obama also gave a testimonial on behalf of Biden, saying that the former vice president may not be perfect, but is a “profoundly decent man.”
She also talked extensively about voter turnout, arguing that Trump was elected in 2016 because “too many people chose to believe that their votes didn’t matter.”
She seemed to be especially concerned with Black turnout when she said, “We have got to vote like we did in 2008 and 2012.”
And she also seemed to make a reference to rapper Kanye West, who is working to get on the ballot in several states as a possible spoiler candidate.
“This is not the time to withhold our votes in protest or play games with candidates who have no chance of winning,” Obama said.
She urged voters to cast early ballots if possible and follow up to make sure they are received. And for voters who are going to the polls, she advised packing a brown-bag dinner and breakfast, because “we’ve got to be willing to stand in line all night if we have to.”
Though Obama said she “hates politics,” she has become a multi-platform media entrepreneur since leaving the White House. Through Higher Ground, her production company with her husband Barack Obama, she launched “The Michelle Obama Podcast” on Spotify. In May, Netflix released “Becoming,” the documentary based on her best-selling memoir of the same title.