By Staff Writer Charlie Lynn
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine held a rally at a chilly Dunning-Cohen Champions Field, at Penn Park on Saturday, Oct. 22. Numerous Haverford College students took advantage of the opportunity to experience the campaign in person.
Sophie Frank ’19 and Magdalena Yeakey ’19 said they had initially planned to attend an earlier event for Hillary Clinton at the Haverford Community Recreation Center, but were unable to attend due to classes. Rebecca Hickey ’19 added, “I just wanted to see her.”
Frank’s attendance at the rally was not her first interaction with 2016 presidential campaign.
“Earlier this year, I protested at a Donald Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico with some other Haverford students,” said Frank. “But, I really wanted the experience of participating not in opposition to something.”
Despite the huge numbers of people, most Haverford students said they did not wait in line for more than hour. The Clinton campaign estimate that around 7,750 people attended the rally.
Ali Corcoran ’19, who is involved on campus with the group No-Labels registering Haverford students to vote, explained that she was incredibly excited to be voting and participating in the process. She offered that, “I’ve loved watching the debate from the sidelines, but I really wanted to experience a campaign event.”
Yeakey noted before the debate that she was hoping to hear something more upbeat than much of the current political rhetoric.
“I look forward to hearing a different tone from the debate,” she said. “I’m looking for positions of positivity.”
Before the arrival of Clinton and Kaine to the stage, State Representative Dwight Evans, a candidate for Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District, Josh Shapiro, a candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, and Senate candidate Katie McGinty spoke to the crowd.
Although Clinton’s consistent and significant lead in Pennsylvania polls has seemingly pushed any hope of Donald Trump victory in the state out of sight, the race between incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty is significantly tighter. All of the night’s speakers, including Clinton and Kaine, worked to connect Toomey with his party’s nominee’s controversial statements. Democrats view a victory in the Pennsylvania race as key to retaking the Senate from Republicans in November.
McGinty explained the importance of removing Senator Toomey from office in order to enact the agenda of Hillary Clinton, telling the crowd, “Our mission is urgent”. Throughout her remarks, McGinty relentlessly attacked her opponent and connected him with Trump. She told an energetic crowd, “What does Pat Toomey need to hear? You failed!” She continued to point out that Toomey’s failure to fully back away from Donald Trump mean that he could no longer be trusted to represent Pennsylvanians. McGinty maintained that, “Pat Toomey has failed the test of leadership. He has failed the test of political courage.”
After a brief break, shortly before 9 p.m., Kaine and Clinton took the stage to raucous applause. Kaine introduced his running mate and explained the importance of Pennsylvania voters participating in the election offering. “If we win Pennsylvania,” he said, “this race will be over. We need your help. If we win here, you can guarantee it.”
As well as taking the opportunity to remind Pennsylvanian voters of the importance of voting and highlighting the qualifications and policies of Clinton and McGinity, Kaine repeatedly attacked Trump, asking the crowd, “Has Donald Trump even read the United States Constitution?” He added, “You all would know a bit about that here in Philadelphia.”
Kaine also emphasized many of Trump’s controversial statements. Discussing Trump’s comments about Clinton not having “the look” of a president, Kaine explained of his running mate, “I think she looks damn presidential.” He continued that, “Hillary has heard from people her whole life that this might not be the time, and she has never let that stop her.”
During Clinton’s portion she continued to urge Pennsylvanians “to spend the last seventeen days doing everything to send Katie to the Senate.” She also attacked Toomey, questioning whether he would be able to stand up to special interests given that he seems unable to stand up against Donald Trump’s more controversial remarks.
Clinton continually attacked her opponent on his business career, joking to the crowd about Trump’s losses from his casinos, “I don’t know how smart it is, losing a billion dollars on a casino. I thought the house always won.” She also questioned whether Trump’s claims that he may not accept the result of election disqualified him from being president. She offered that, “We’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power in the United States. We’ve always had democracy over dictatorship, rule of law over a strongman. The United States is bigger than Donald Trump.”
She even joked to supporters who might know people considering voting for Donald Trump, “You know, it’s not too late to stage an intervention. Friends don’t let friends vote for Donald Trump”
Listing a variety of issues from immigration and criminal justice reform to college affordability, Clinton stressed the significance of the participating in this election. She added, “This is a crossroad election. There could not be two different agendas and visions than between me and Donald Trump.”
Ending her speech, she told the crowd, “You’d better vote. Think about the future we want, think about the future we can create and remember love trumps hate.”
Haverford students were overwhelming enthusiastic about the evening. As she left the event, Corcoran said simply, “It was just amazing.”