Former first lady Michelle Obama on Sunday railed against the “nastiness” of the current political climate as she called on people to vote in this year’s midterm elections.
“When you don’t vote, that’s exactly what you’re doing — you’re letting other people make decisions for you,” Obama said during a rally in Las Vegas for When We All Vote, the nonprofit voting initiative that she started earlier this year.
“We get the leaders we vote for. We get the policies we vote for. And when we don’t vote, that’s when we wind up with government of, by and for other people.”
More than 2,000 people attended the event in a gymnasium to hear Obama and several other people speak about their initiative.
Obama told the crowd that “democracy continues with or without you,” and that she understands why people would want to shut out politics from their everyday life.
“Believe me, I am frustrated, too,” she said. “I am sick of all the chaos and the nastiness of our politics. It’s exhausting and, frankly, it’s depressing. I understand wanting to shut it all out.”
Her speech at the event marked the launch of When We All Vote’s “Week of Action,” a multiday effort that seeks to increase voter registration before the general election this November.
Obama, who is the organization’s co-chair, is scheduled to make an appearance in Miami as part of the initiative later this month.
Her appearance on Sunday came just days after she starred in a PSA that warned of the consequences of voter apathy in this year’s midterms, which Democrats consider a great chance to retake control of the House and possibly the Senate.
“The truth is when we stay home, things stay the same or they get worse. But when we all vote, we get new ideas and new energy,” she said in the video. “We get leaders who share our values and listen to our voices. That’s how we change America.”