But here is the good news: "In two months [midterm elections], we have the chance - not the certainty, but the chance - to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics". "We have the chance to flip the House of Representatives and make sure there are real checks and balances in Washington".
Last week, Mr. Obama praised American accomplishments but said there is a darker side to progress when politicians peddle resentment and mistrust to preserve the status quo.
The address comes as the former president and first lady delicately re-enter the political fray ahead of the midterm elections, a move filled with peril and opportunity as the most powerful duo in Democratic politics test whether they can help handicap Trump's presidency without also motivating his supporters to the polls.
He blasted the "politics of fear" and said "the only way we reverse anger and division is when citizens step up to say 'we're going to do things differently'".
Mr Obama condemned Mr Trump's pressuring of law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Next Thursday, Obama leads a rally in Cleveland for Ohio governor candidate Richard Cordray and other Ohio Democrats.
"That's not how our democracy is supposed to work", Obama thundered, in reference to the revelations by investigative journalist Bob Woodward whose new book describes Trump's aides battling to rein in an angry, uninformed president. He is speaking to support Josh Harder, TJ Cox, Katie Hill, Gil Cisneros, Katie Porter, Harley Rouda and Mike Levin.
In a speech last week at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, Mr. Obama had urged the audience to remember when the economic recovery started.
"Your version of America is not the America we want".
"Some of you may think I am exaggerating when I say this election is more important than any I can remember in my lifetime", Obama said in a speech at the University of IL. "I have been guilty at saying this when I was on the ballot ... but a glance at recent headlines should tell you this moment really is different". "He is a symptom, not the cause".
Trump is "just capitalising on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years", the former president said during a speech at the University of IL.
His overarching message in both speeches, however, was the complaining does nothing when people don't vote.
"Out of this political darkness I am seeing a great awakening of citizenship all across the country", Obama said.
Obama will hit the campaign trail on Saturday, appearing at a campaign event in southern California before heading to OH next week and to IL and Pennsylvania later in the month.
Obama was clearly exasperated by what he's seen in government since he left office in January 2017.
The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee organized Saturday's event, which did not include Obama-endorsed candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar who is running against Republican incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA).