The Atlantic

How Will Obama's Message Play in Trump's America?

The former president reprised his favorite themes of hope and unity in his return to the campaign trail on Thursday.
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

RICHMOND, Va.— The event had all the trappings of a vintage Obama rally. There was the bouncy Motown soundtrack; the chants of “yes we can”; the call-and-response with a crowd of die-hards—Fired up, and ready to go!—for whom seeing Barack Obama in the flesh seemed to stir emotions akin to a religious experience.

And, of course, there was that hallmark of Obama’s rhetoric—audacious, unavoidable, dripping from every syllable of the former president’s speech: Hope.

“Look, I’ve been in this arena for a while,” Obama told a crowd of thousands at a campaign rally for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam Thursday night. American politics might be “depressing” now, “but what I also know is that as frustrated as

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