Former President Barack Obama — serious and intellectual — delivered a complex constitutional lecture on primetime television during the virtual Democratic National Convention. He summoned historic sweep, encompassing the Founders, the Civil Rights Movement, America’s immigrant heritage and young Americans he called to action today to save their freedoms just as their ancestors had done every time the country’s promise was imperiled.  Trump meanwhile, back at the White House, was rage-tweeting in real time in all-caps, flinging wild accusations and lies that, if anything, provided contemporaneous evidence of his predecessor’s somber warnings.

“Do not let them take away your power. Don’t let them take away your democracy,” Obama said in a plea that was far deeper than a political leader’s repudiation of the legacy destroying policies of his predecessor.  “Make a plan right now for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can and tell your family and friends how they can vote too,” Obama said, accusing the Trump administration of suppressing the vote and counting on the cynicism of the people to guarantee four more years. “What we do echoes through the generations,” Obama said, in what amounted to probably the most watched lecture on America’s constitutional heritage in history.