With Sheryl Crow’s song “Woman in the White House” blaring on loud speakers scattered across Independence Mall in Philadelphia, the clear night sky and chilly temperatures were heated up by approximately 60,000 people who showed up to hear and see Hillary Clinton, her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle lay out the stakes on the eve of Election Day 2016 with the kind of eloquence and elocution that great speakers can deliver.
Musical entertainment and political inspiration and guidance was supplied first by Jon Bon Jovi, a long-time ally to Bill Clinton first and now wife Hillary, then by The Boss, Bruce Springstein, who played acoustic guitar, including Dancing In The Dark. Mrs. Clinton left Philadelphia with Bon Jovi and Lady GaGa in tow as they made a midnight run to Raleigh, North Carolina, an key state Clinton hopes to capture to shut the door on Trump.
In what is widely regarded as the most important election in modern times, the two candidates closed their campaigns in very different styles. Republican nominee Donald Trump told his supporters this was their last chance to buck a broken political system, while Democrat Clinton focused her deliver on looking ahead to how she would govern, promising she would listen even to those voters who rejected her and making a late plea for “more love and kindness,” the AP reported.
Speaking in Pittsburgh earlier in the day, Hillary said, “We have got to rise above all of this. We don’t have to accept a dark and divisive vision for America. Tomorrow, you can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, bighearted America.” At a rally in Sarasota, Florida, Trump repeated his now daily mantra about his thoughts on the election. “Hillary Clinton is being protected by a totally rigged system.”
Media in Philadelphia, including one reporter from the very Republican Washington Examiner and one from a well known national news service, told this reporter they think Hillary pulls it out. One source with intimate knowledge of Clinton’s GOTV campaign in Ohio believes that despite Trump being up in the polls, Clinton wins the state on an upset by less than one point.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Kenney got the crowd revved up by reminding them that “democracy is at work where democracy started.” To keep the country moving forward, the only choice, he said, is Hillary Clinton. Among those who followed Kenney was Democratic senate hopeful Katie McGinty, who could help turn the Senate blue if she can upset incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, who Obama applauded for his stance on background checks for guns but excoriated for his votes to turn back many of his programs.
Bill and Chelsea Clinton were the opening act to Michelle and the president, who delivered a forceful and thoughtful speech that repeated his belief that a President Trump working in tandem with a Republican-controlled Congress would reverse all his accomplishments over the last eight years. In his remarks, the president said that, with the people behind him, “we turned ‘yes we can’ into ‘yes we did.'”
In an echo of her introduction to her mom at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia earlier this year in late July, Chelsea Clinton said the enthusiasm of the evening was undeniable. “I am so, so grateful. And I am so fiercely, ridiculously proud of my mom,” she said, adding, “I cannot wait to cast my vote for her tomorrow.” She then introduced her father, former two-term president Bill Clinton. “I am so proud of our daughter,” he said before thanking those in the audience, which reached from the podium all the way to Constitution Hall. He took a moment to remind listeners “where we are and what it means…This country began here, right here, with people who pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor to form a more perfect union,” he let the crowd add by themselves.
When the First Lady’s turn came, she didn’t disappoint. “I am here tonight because I believe with all my heart and soul that Hillary Clinton is that leader – and we need to do everything we can to get her elected President of the United States. And here’s the beauty of it all, this election is on us. It is in our hands. If we get out and vote tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will win. But if we stay home or we play around with the protest vote, then Hillary’s opponent will win, period, end of story.”
“So can we count on you? Can Hillary count on you? We’ve got to get this done. You’ve got to get out and vote. We can make this happen,” she said, bringing her husband to the stage.
The president said he had done a little math. “Under the last two Republican presidents, job growth was basically flat, deficits went up. Over our two Democratic presidencies, jobs went up by more than 30 million, deficits went down, millions more Americans gained health insurance. So yes, with Democrats in charge, America is stronger. Those are just the facts,” he said, the crowd roaring with approval.
He acknowledge that he hadn’t fully counted on the obstruction he’d see when he first came into office and had to save the economy. “I didn’t anticipate the way social media would magnify our divisions and muddy up facts. None of us knew then how deep the Great Recession would cut and how many people would suffer and how it would make so many people anxious about their futures and their kids’ futures even after the economy recovered. But despite all that, I told him, the answer’s yes. I still believe in hope.”
Ever the optimist, the 44th president told the crowd that they had bet on him eight years ago, something he said he’ll always be grateful for. Now, he asked them to bet one more time, on Hillary Clinton. “I’m getting that tomorrow, most moms and dads across America won’t cast their vote for someone who denigrates their daughters from the highest office in the land. I’m betting that most Americans won’t vote for someone who considers minorities and immigrants and people with disabilities as inferior, who considers people who practice different faiths as objects of suspicion. I’m betting that tomorrow, true conservatives won’t cast their vote for someone with no regard for the Constitution. I’m betting that young people turn out to vote because your future is at stake.”
Mrs. Clinton was upbeat and energized, saying she’s happy the campaign is ending with her husband and daughter at her side. What’s at stake, she said under a clear sky, with Constitution Hall lit up not to far away, is that not just her name or Donald Trump’s name will be on the ballot Tuesday. “Every issue you care about is at stake,” she said. “If you believe all of our kids should have good schools and good teachers no matter what ZIP Code they live in, then you have to vote. If you believe college should be more affordable, you have to vote. If you believe we must reform our criminal justice system so everyone has respect for the law, and everyone is respected by the law, you have to vote. If you believe we need to protect our kids and pass common sense gun safety reforms, you have to vote. If you believe we must raise the minimum wage and finally guarantee equal pay for women, then you need to vote. Now, every time I say that last part about equal pay for women, my opponent accuses me of playing the woman’s card. Well, you know what I say: if that’s playing the woman’s card, then deal me in.”
Closing her comments, she said, “Years from today, when your kids and grandkids ask what you did in 2016, when everything was on the line, I want you to be able to say that you did vote, you voted for an inclusive, bighearted, open-minded country future that will make sure that we all keep moving together because I do believe we are stronger together; and you voted for an America where we build bridges, not walls; and, maybe most importantly, you voted in great numbers to demonstrate conclusively, once and for all, that, yes, love trumps hate. Let’s get out and vote, Philadelphia, tomorrow. Let’s make history together.”
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