U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, Nov. 10, 2016. 
Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Obama takes a stand in support of ‘a fact-based reality’

Donald Trump headlined a campaign rally in Las Vegas over the weekend, showing his support for the Republican nominees in Nevada’s very competitive U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races. In the process, the president peddled an unsettling amount of nonsense.

Looking over the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale’s Twitter thread on Trump’s remarks, the Republican lied about everything from a Veterans Choice policy to “riots” in California, health care to immigration, border-wall construction to a non-existent Democratic plan to buy cars for undocumented immigrants.

Two days later, Barack Obama traveled to the same city for an election-season speech of his own. The former Democratic president told his audience:

“Unlike some, I actually try to state facts. I believe in facts. I believe in a fact-based reality, and a fact-based politics.

“I don’t believe in just making stuff up. I think you should, like, actually say to people what’s true.”

And while Trump on Saturday identified all kinds of perceived threats Nevadans should be afraid of – immigrants, Democratic “mobs,” et al – Obama on Monday pointed in a very different direction.

“The threat to our democracy does not come from one person in the White House or Republicans in Congress or big money lobbyists,” the former president said. “The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism that says, ‘We’re just going to stay home because my voice doesn’t matter.’”

Obama added, “[H]ere’s the good news, Nevada. Right now we’ve got a chance to restore sanity to our politics. Right now we can tip the balance of power back to you, the American people. Because ultimately, there is only one real check on abuses of power, there’s only one real check on bad policy, and that is you and your vote. You.”

It’s not exactly a secret that Barack Obama and Donald Trump are two very different kinds of presidents, but seeing them take their competing visions to the same city, one on Saturday and the other two days later, offered a chance to highlight those contrasts in new and striking ways.