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Photo: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama took on the Republican Party in his first major speech of the 2018 midterm election cycle.

"Over the past two decades," he said, "the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party."

"This is not normal. These are extraordinary times. And they're dangerous times."
— Barack Obama

Obama argued Republicans are using the politics of fear and division in 2018. The GOP, he said, "will do anything to hang on to their recent gains."

He also criticized the "resistance" coming from inside the White House, as detailed in the anonymous NYT op-ed:

“By the way, the claim that everything will turn out okay because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren't following the president's orders, that is not a check. I'm being serious here. That's not how our democracy's supposed to work."

The bottom line: Obama's 2018 message is not just about criticizing the GOP, but also encouraging Democratic voters to do more than just protest. "You cannot sit back and wait for a savior, you can’t opt out because you don't feel that inspired by this or that particular candidate," Obama said. "This is not a rock concert, this is not Coachella. We don't need a messiah."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.