Updated: Aug 11
Republican-governed US states have introduced new legal regulations that provide for strict identification of voters. According to ex-US President Barack Obama, this development is an attempt to manipulate the elections.
Former US President Barack Obama has accused Republicans of trying to rig elections by enacting state voter identification laws. During an appearance on Saturday promoting Virginia Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial candidate, Obama said:
"One has to ask, why don't the Republicans want you to vote?" "What are you so afraid of? If you think you have better ideas, why not just bring them up?"
Obama was referring to electoral integrity laws passed by Republican-controlled US states this year. He did not elaborate on how such measures could prevent people from voting in a country where photo identification is required to drive a car, get on a plane, get vaccinated, cash a prescription for medication, or have a bank account to run, get a job or receive public benefits.
Still, Obama argued that Republicans don't seem to want to convince voters with good ideas. He added:
"Tell us your ideas. Tell us why you think they will be better. Tell us how you are helping people to get a job, or how you are helping this young people getting into college, or how they help people to learn a trade. "
"Just explain them. And when you have good ideas, people will jump on your ideas. But that's not what they're trying to do. Instead, you're trying to manipulate elections. Because the truth is, people are up to." Disagree with your ideas. "
Obama and other Democratic Party leaders have argued that the new electoral laws are aimed at suppressing the voting of overwhelmingly Democratic voters.
In June, Obama went so far as to suggest that Republicans were not only changing the rules necessary to maintain "diverse, multiracial democracy," but manipulating the process in ways that were "not good for that." Business and certainly not for our soul ".
The allegations appear to reflect a radical shift in attitudes since 2016, when Obama labeled Trump irresponsible. He accused him of undermining the integrity and trust in US institutions when he claimed that the US presidential election had been rigged in favor of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Obama added at the time that "no serious person could somehow assume that even America's elections could be rigged."
Clinton even went a step further and announced that Trump was threatening US democracy by refusing to unconditionally accept the election result. Similar political statements were made in 2020 when Trump was portrayed as a threat to the US system of government for making allegations of widespread electoral fraud and not accepting defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
In his campaign speech for McAuliffe on Saturday, Obama seemed to mix up the notion of attacking the integrity of the elections and condemning those who do so. After accusing Republicans of trying to rig elections, the former US president next breath accused Republicans of "spreading lies and conspiracy theories about the last election you didn't win. That's not how democracy should work."
Obama then again defended the inviolability of the US electoral system. He emphasized:
"Our democracy is what makes America great. It is what defines the capital. This extraordinary experiment of self-government to protect and preserve that should not be a question of the parties. It wasn't before."