Michelle Obama’s Pitch to Disaffected Democrats

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The passage below was only a tiny part of Michelle Obama’s speech tonight, but I think the entire rest of the address, all 3,000 words of it, had only a single purpose: to make this one tiny part resonate by the time she got to it.

I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he’s going to do, even when it’s hard — especially when it’s hard….He reminds me that we are playing a long game here — and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.

….And if so many brave men and women could wear our country’s uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights, then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights. Surely, we can get to the polls and make our voices heard on Election Day.

That was it. That was the whole point of the speech: to convince disappointed Obama fans that her husband was worth getting off their butts and working for again. Change is hard. It happens one small step at a time. We’re playing a long game and you should be ashamed of yourself if you feel like quitting just because Barack hasn’t won every battle. Now get out there and vote.

The rest of the speech was extremely well crafted and Michelle Obama delivered it like a pro. It hit all the right notes. There were no gratuitous partisan attacks (unless her remark that “the truth matters” was a subtle barb). I’ll bet it gets high marks in the overnight polling. But as good as the rest of it was, it was, in the end, just a superstructure designed to provide emotional support for the four sentences above. If they hit home, the speech did its work. If they didn’t, it failed.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate