In a post following election day, I wrote about three “rules” the Obama campaign broke to win the election. At the top of the list: the concerted effort to turn nonvoters into voters. I said, “It means something to people when the candidate running for the nation’s highest office cares about everyone in our American family rather than ignoring the diversity in this country.”
The discussion board filled up with some rather unfortunate, stomach-turning comments such as this one from a reader by the moniker of “astrobob1,” who offered this to the conversation:
Recruiting children who have never worked for a living and know nothing of the real world and then brainwashing them and leading them to slaughter. Where have we seen this before, Communist China, Cambodia, 1933 Germany?
It’s always disappointing to read these sort of misguided missives. But one comment in particular really bothered me. Reader “cicuraz” writes:
And I actually think the GOP ignored these people, which is what they should do. What do you think the unprecedented number of negative ads run by the Obama campaign were for? Do you really believe that abortion is in danger of being outlawed or that Mitt Romney was personally responsible for all the horrible things the Obama campaign said he did? No. They were whipping up their base.
And do you think the writer of this article really believes or do you believe that the reason the Democrats spent millions of dollars registering people to vote and getting them to the polls is because they just really care about them? No.
So let's all stop being manipulated. And if we really care, I think we all should be capable of registering to vote without assistance from any party. And I am sure we all have access to public transportation, a friend or family member, or two good legs to get us the polls.
Actually, “cicuraz,” Democrats do care about these people. Democrats believe in creating a level playing field so that everyone can have the opportunity to pursue their version of the American dream. And that starts with empowering people who aren’t used to having a voice by encouraging them to vote -- rather than putting obstacles in their way.
Yes, getting nonvoters to actually come out to the polls was a brilliant strategy. But it was also a profound civil rights act. It helped give people who’ve been discriminated against or disenfranchised the tools they need so that they may have a stake in this country and its future.
President Obama’s first term showed us a leader who stands up for equality. He’s fought for women by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure equal pay for equal work. He’s stood up for gay rights by repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and by endorsing same-sex marriage. He’s extended the American “dream” to children brought to this country illegally, so long as they graduate high school or join the military. He’s helped put college in reach of all students through Pell Grants that make higher education affordable. And he’s made healthcare accessible to all people with the Affordable Care Act.
So it stands to reason that the Obama campaign’s mission to get nonvoters to the polls wasn’t just a smart strategy. It was also in line with the president’s overall mission for this country to “really care” about all Americans.
Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier
Note: spelling errors were corrected in the above reader comments for the purpose of clarity.