Barack Obama has gone full caudillo, raising the notion of a “legacy” that must be protected from “insult” – meaning a vote for anyone but his choice to succeed him. This highly personalized view of government as an extension of a leader’s personality that would be “insulted” by a vote against his preference is what dictators practice, not democracies.
“So if I hear anybody saying their vote does not matter, that it doesn’t matter who we elect — read up on your history. It matters. (Applause) We’ve got to get people to vote. (Applause)In fact, if you want to give Michelle and me a good sendoff — and that was a beautiful video — but don’t just watch us walk off into the sunset, now. Get people registered to vote. (Applause.) If you care about our legacy, realize everything we stand for is at stake. All the progress we’ve made is at stake in this election. (Applause) My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. (Applause) Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. (Applause) Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. (Applause) Ending mass incarceration — that’s on the ballot right now! (Applause)And there is one candidate who will advance those things. And there’s another candidate whose defining principle, the central theme of his candidacy is opposition to all that we’ve done.There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter. It all matters. And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. (Applause.) You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote. (Applause) And I’m going to be working as hard as I can these next seven weeks to make sure folks do.”
All that is missing from this harangue is a military uniform draped with dozens of medals awarded for imaginary feats of bravery.