Michelle Obama Is Quietly Wading Into the Midterms—But Not in the Way Democrats Had Hoped

July 19, 2018, 8:57 AM UTC

President Obama has slowly been creeping back into the spotlight, most recently delivering the Nelson Mandela speech in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

And now, it appears, it’s Michelle Obama’s turn.

The former first lady launched Thursday a new voter registration initiative, called When We All Vote. She’ll be joined by a number of other high-profile co-chairs, including Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Janelle Monáe.

Perhaps most significantly, however, the initiative is strictly nonpartisan, which Politico suggests is drawing the frustration of Democrats who had hoped Obama would use her fame to campaign for Democratic candidates.

When We All Vote reportedly hopes to raise an $8 million budget, primarily through corporate sponsorships and foundation grants, to fund a three-pronged approach to voter registration: volunteer recruitment and training, improved voter registration processes, and an increased conversation and participation in the voting process across the country.

In order to do so, the initiative will use online and in-person tactics to recruit individuals and groups in all 50 states to help drive registration and voting in their communities. When We All Vote also reportedly has a series of events planned, including rallies, trainings, and voter registration and get out the vote days of action.

The initiative will allow Obama to add her voice and influence to the upcoming midterms without directly involving herself politically and aligns with her and her husband’s belief in the power of voting to improve democratic processes.

“Voting is the only way to ensure that our values and priorities are represented in the halls of power,” Obama said in a statement. “And it’s not enough to just vote for president every four years. We all have to vote in every single election: for mayor, governor, school board, state legislature and Congress.”

“The future of our families, our communities and our country belongs to those of us who show up, cast our votes, and make our voices heard,” she concluded.

It is as yet unclear whether Obama will make any campaign appearances in the fall.

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