Obama casts Trump as threat to American democracy at Democratic Party's convention , Aug 20, 2020

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Obama casts Trump as threat to American democracy at Democratic Party's convention , Aug 20, 2020

         ISLAMABAD-NEW YORK,Former US President Barack Obama has grimly warned Americans that President Donald Trump posed an existential threat to the country’s democratic values and institutions, and he implored voters to "embrace your own responsibility as citizens".

                 "That's what's at stake right now — our democracy," Obama said from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on the third night of the Democratic National Convention at which Senator Kamala Devi Harris  made history by becoming the first woman of colour to accept a major-party nomination for the vice presidency.

                 "Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t," Obama said. "And the consequences of that failure are severe. 170,000 Americans dead. Millions of jobs gone while those at the top take in more than ever. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before."

                 At the White House in Washington, President Trump hit back, saying he was only elected because of the failed policies of  Obama.

                 “President Obama did not do a good job. ... The reason I’m here is because of President Obama and Joe Biden (the Democratic Party's presidential nominee). Because if they did a good job, I wouldn’t be here.”

                 In a subsequent tweet, Trump said: "Welcome, Barack and Crooked Hillary (Clinton, his challenger in the 2016 election). See you on the field of battle!"

                 The grand finale of the four-night convention will see Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden deliver a speech on Thursday night.

                 The Biden-Harris ticket will challenge President Trump and his Vice-President Mike Pence for the White House in the election on 3 November.

                 The coronavirus pandemic has forced Democrats to abandon the cheering throngs and festivities that are the hallmarks of the quadrennial party convention in favour of a virtual event of pre-recorded and live speeches.

                 In his scathing rebuke of  President Trump, Barack Obama broke with a tradition that former US presidents do not criticize their successor by name.

                 Obama said: "He has [Mr Trump] shown no interest in putting in the work. No interest in finding common ground.

                 "No interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends.

                 "No interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves."

                 He said the consequences of the Trump presidency have been "our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before".

                 The former president lamented "the circus of it all, the meanness and the lies and the conspiracy theories".

                 "Do not let them take away your power," he implored American voters. "Do not let them take away your democracy."

                 Obama encouraged voters to elect his former vice-president, Biden, in 76 days' time - praising him as "my friend" and "a brother".

                 Political observers noted that he former  president has become gradually more outspoken about his successor as he has watched him dismantle his legacy.

                 On Monday night at the Democratic convention, Michelle Obama delivered an impassioned attack on her husband's successor, painting him as incompetent and "clearly in over his head". Her salvo was especially striking to many Americans because US first ladies, serving and former, tend to carefully steer clear of the political fray.

                 “We’re at an inflection point,” Ms. Harris, 55, said as she formally accepted the nomination. “The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone.

                 “We can do better and deserve so much more. We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better and do the important work.”

                 Far more than the two previous nights, which centered on testimonials to Biden’s character and empathy, the programme focused on policy, addressing issues like gun violence, climate change, affordable child care and immigration. In videos, activists promoted Biden’s plans to tackle a warming planet, and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence reminded viewers of his role in crafting the Violence Against Women Act. The American child of a deported undocumented mother begged the president to reunite families torn apart by his immigration policy.

                 In perhaps the most policy-heavy speech of the evening, Senator Elizabeth Warren, speaking from an early childhood learning center in her home state of Massachusetts, praised Biden’s “really good plans.” She highlighted his proposals to make child care more affordable, to provide universal preschool and to raise wages for child care workers.

                 Much of the evening was devoted to the power of women in politics. In a week marking the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, two of the most influential women in politics, wore white as they delivered their remarks, in homage to the suffragists. Both anointed Ms. Harris as a successor of sorts, though they had declined to endorse her or any of the other five women who sought the Democratic presidential nomination during the primaries.

                 The convention has been conducted virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

                 Applause was broadcast on a video screen at the site of Ms. Harris’s speech.

                 On Wednesday night, Mrs.  Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee, also assailed the man who thwarted her White House ambitions.

                 Speaking from her home in Chappaquiddick, New York, she said: "I wish Donald Trump had been a better president. But, sadly, he is who he is."

                 The former first lady and ex-secretary of state added: "For four years, people have said to me, 'I didn't realize how dangerous he was.' 'I wish I could go back and do it over.' Or worst, 'I should have voted.'

                 "Well, this can't be another woulda coulda shoulda election."

                 She added: "Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are."