Playing to a boisterous crowd, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took the stage on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 16, at West Philadelphia High School with a few words of praise for the younger members of the electorate:
Millennials are the “most tolerant and generous generation that we’ve ever seen in America,” she said to a ripple of applause from the largely middle-aged members of the crowd.
Clinton spoke for nearly 15 minutes about economic opportunity, the importance of democratic participation and cycled through some of her campaign policies, such as providing free forms of education to students everywhere and driving both the economy and infrastructure redevelopment with renewable energy.
No lack of enthusiasm greeted Clinton’s arrival to West Philadelphia.
Several attendees formed a line outside the gymnasium over two hours before the event started. Campaign staffers used every opportunity to spread the message of getting out to vote while attendees waited to enter. From the moment someone was in line outside the event, they faced a consistent stream of inquiries about their voter registration status. Volunteers were quick to repeatedly ask if voters were both registered to vote and if their voter registration needed to be updated.
Each of the speakers preceding Clinton seemed intent on spurring voter turnout among millennials, who vastly preferred Clinton’s rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the primary.
Starting with local Philadelphia rap artist Freeway, and continuing through Councilwoman Jamie Blackwell, City Council President Darrell Clarke, state Rep. Dwight Evans, state Sen. Vincent Hughes and ending with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, each speaker’s message was the same: register to vote.
Though Clinton leads in nearly every current swing state poll, one supporter was nervous about her potential voters getting too overconfident.
“An eight-point lead means nothing if turnout is low,” said 2010 School of Education graduate Ian Riccaboni, one of the current announcers for Ring of Honor Wrestling. “I hope that my fellow Clinton supporters don’t take their feet off the gas, so to speak, and continue to register voters, knock on doors and continue to keep the enthusiasm high to ensure the highest turnout.”
As Clinton concluded her speech, she reminded everyone to register to vote once again.
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