Former President Barack Obama said in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) that people who voted for President Donald Trump may not have had “facts” because of their news sources and that he believes Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will “restore a bunch of norms.”
In the interview, host Michel Martin asked Obama about the election but did not mention that it has not been officially certified.
“Let’s talk about the campaign,” Martin said. “How do you understand the election results? I mean, by that I mean, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win the White House, but Republicans make gains in the House.”
“And in fact, Republicans now control more state legislatures than at any point in U.S. history,” Martin said. “They control both legislative houses in 32 states.”
“And of course, we are speaking at a time when there are more than 10 million COVID cases in the United States, 240,000 people have died,” Martin said. “This is as, just as we are speaking now. Yet 70 million people voted for the incumbent who presided over all this. So what do you thinks going on here? How do you understand it?”
“Look, I think there’s no doubt that the country is deeply divided right now,” Obama said. “And, you know, when I think back even to my own first presidential election in 2008, the country didn’t feel this divided, what some people have called the great sort in which you have a combination of a political, cultural, ideological, in some cases, religious and geographical divide that seems to be deeper than just differences in policy.”
“A lot of that I think has to do with changes in how people get information. I’ve spoken about this before, I write about this in my book,” Obama said. “If you watch Fox News, you perceive a different reality than if you read The New York Times and that didn’t use to be as stark because you had local newspapers and you had people overlapping in terms of where they got information.”
“But now partly because of social media and sort of the echo chamber, a lot of the people who voted for Donald Trump do not believe that in fact COVID was mishandled, contrary to the facts that now you or I might assert, those aren’t the facts that they accept,” Obama said. “And I think that until we can start having a common baseline of facts from which to discuss the direction of the country, we’re going to continue to have some of these issues.”
“Now part of it is also the fact that the Republican Party — because you mentioned state legislatures — Democrats tend to now be primarily in metropolitan areas, not just cities, but surrounding suburbs, metro areas, and Republicans are spread out more in less densely populated rural areas,” Obama said. “That gives them a huge advantage automatically in the Senate. It gives them a big advantage with respect to state legislative races and even gives them some advantage in congressional races.”
“So, Joe Biden can win by 5 million votes in the popular vote, but because of how those votes are distributed, Democrats are going to be at a disadvantage,” Obama said. “All of which means that I am thrilled that Joe and Kamala have won.”
“I believe that they will restore a bunch of norms — respect for science, respect for facts, respect for rule of law that I think have been breached over the last four years — but some of the bigger challenges in bringing the country together, that’s going to be a project that goes beyond just one election,” Obama said.
Obama is making the rounds to promote his third memoir, A Promised Land.
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