Barack Obama, Unlike Donald Trump, Says 2018 Midterms More Important Than His Own Election

Former President Barack Obama has stressed the importance of the 2018 midterm elections—set to take place on Tuesday—by saying the vote might be even more important than in 2008, the year he won the presidency.

President Donald Trump, who has proved himself uniquely focused on election wins, has been unwilling to make a similar assessment when comparing 2018 to his victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Speaking at a rally in Chicago on Monday, Obama emphasized that the vote on Tuesday could have sweeping consequences—Republicans, of course, control both chambers of Congress, and Democrats have a real chance to take back at least one.

"Hope is still out there. We just have to stand up and speak for it. And in two days, Illinois, in two days, you get to vote in what might be the most important election of my lifetime, maybe more important than 2008," Obama said, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. "America is at a crossroads right now. There is a contest of ideas that is going on, about who we are and what kind of country we are going to be."

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Pictured in this photo illustration is former President Barack Obama (left) at rally at North Division High School on October 26, 2018, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On the right of this photo illustration is President Donald Trump speaking on the South Lawn of the White House on November 4, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Left: Scott Olson/Getty Images -- Right: Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

Earlier in the '18 election cycle—back in May—a speechwriter seemingly tried to get Trump to say the upcoming midterm vote was as important as his '16 win. The former reality TV star wasn't having it.

"Your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016," Trump read off the teleprompter before ad-libbing an off-script aside. "Although I'm not sure I really believe that. You know. I don't know who the hell wrote that line, I'm not sure... But it's still important, remember."

It's nearly impossible to predict how the vote will go on Tuesday—few expected Trump to win in 2016, after all. But it's expected to be close.

FiveThirtyEight's projections, for example, gave Democrats about an 87 percent chance of winning back control of the House of Representatives but also gave the GOP about an 84 percent chance of keeping the Senate.