In what is likely to be a memorable moment on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama will take the stage at the Democratic National Convention and defend his legacy as president and urge voters to reject Donald Trump in November.
While Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton – the two biggest and most effective speakers of the convention thus far – didn’t mention Trump by name, Obama will reportedly name check him several times.
And, why not? Since his takedown of Trump at the 2011 Correspondence Dinner, Obama has been one of the most effective weapons against the spray-tanned buffoon.
Five years later, though, there is much more at stake for the president and the country.
There is no question that history will judge Obama’s tenure as a success – even now, an increasing number of Americans approve of his presidency. But who succeeds him in the Oval Office is likely to be decisive in determining whether his successes are temporary achievements or long-term transformations.
His administration’s stimulus package – still a point of attack for Republicans, but what isn’t these days? – halted the economic free fall and laid the foundation for 15 million new private-sector jobs and 76 straight months of job growth. It also made unprecedented investments in clean energy that have the potential to pay dividends for decades to come.
A Trump presidency would usher in an updated version of the trickle-down economic policies that have failed this country whenever implemented. And when it comes to investing in clean energy and taking on climate change, Trump doesn’t even believe it’s a problem that needs to be tackled.
President Obama’s Affordable Care Act provided millions more Americans with health insurance and advanced the notion that, in the United States of America, health coverage shouldn’t just be for the healthy and the wealthy – it should be for every single man, woman, and child.
Donald Trump, of course, promises to “completely repeal” the law, kicking millions off their coverage and handing the reins back over to the insurance companies. His campaign co-chair even said that “not everybody needs to have health insurance.”
On immigration, the president has taken executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation. These are people that may be here illegally but still pay billions of dollars in taxes each year and are working to provide a better life for themselves and their families. Obama has repeatedly called for comprehensive immigration reform that will put these people on a path to citizenship – something that a majority of Americans want to see accomplished.
Donald Trump, of course, promises to build a giant wall on the southern border and enlist a deportation force to ship millions of people out of this country. He believes Mexican immigrants are “criminals” and “rapists.”
On these issues and many more, the gains we have made over the past eight years will either be erased or severely chipped away by a Republican presidency. The GOP has already been working tirelessly to do this with Obama still in office; just imagine what they would do if they have complete control.
Wednesday night will give President Obama a chance to urge Americans not to choose that path.
Instead, he will urge Democrats and Americans to rally behind Hillary Clinton not just to secure his legacy, but to protect the United States of America from the clear and present danger that a Donald Trump presidency poses.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.