As temperatures dropped to the low fifties, Hillary Clinton campaigned in front of a crowd of over 7,000 people at Penn Park Saturday night.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, and running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) arrived around 8:30 p.m. from Pittsburgh to speak in Philadelphia. With the city skyline glittering behind her, Clinton criticized key traits in her opponent, Republican nominee and 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump, and urged the crowd to vote on Nov. 8.
“Friends don’t let friends vote for Trump,” she said.
Early in her speech, Clinton thanked The Daily Pennsylvanian and the Wellesley College student papers for their recent editorial endorsements.
“I said, wow, they’re really smart at those two places, and I need to get there as soon as possible to thank them,” she said. Clinton referred to the DP as “The Pennsylvanian.”
Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial candidate Katie McGinty, current senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and attorney general Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro all spoke before Kaine and Clinton. The Democratic nominee touched on topics such as college debt, universal pre-kindergarten education, systemic racism and cyber security during her speech. She also tore down Trump on a long list of topics, including his last presidential debate performance, where he refused to say he would accept the outcome of the election.
“I’ve lost elections,” Clinton said. “You don’t feel good the next day. But we’ve always had a peaceful transfer of power. That’s the difference a democracy and a dictatorship.”
Held at Dunning-Cohen Championship Field, the rally drew spectators from throughout Philadelphia and Penn’s campus. With the presidential election less than three weeks away, the line to the rally snaked around the field past Franklin Field and David Rittenhouse Laboratories as people scrambled for a chance to see the country’s potential next president.
“This is a monumental event,” said College senior Kat Sicat, who attended the rally. “Hillary’s going to be our first female president, and I want to be a part of it.”
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to be here and see the next president,” College senior Gabriella Ficerai-Garland added.
Sicat and Ficerai-Garland said they both voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary, but were now supporting Clinton for the upcoming election.
“We’re voting for Hillary,” Sicat said. “She’s the best choice right now.”
Penn students also played a part in organizing the rally.
College senior Barry Johnson, who took a leave of absence to be an organizer with the Clinton campaign, was the first person to speak on stage before the night’s roster of local and Democratic politicians.
Johnson said in his speech that volunteers had managed to register 2,500 students to vote on Penn’s campus.
“With a push of a button, you’re going to decide the next four years of our lives.” Johnson said. “This election is too important to sit out.”
Pennsylvania, a key swing state, has been targeted by both the Trump and Clinton campaigns in the last months leading up to the election.
“If we win Pennsylvania, its gonna be over, folks,” Kaine said. “Pennsylvania is a checkmate state. They don’t call this the keystone state for nothing.”
Millennials, in particular, have been a highly valued demographic for the Clinton campaign. Clinton appeared last month at Temple University to campaign to college students. Kaine, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden also made stops in Philadelphia in September and October, with Michelle Obama appearing at La Salle University and Biden at Drexel.
During her speech, Clinton applauded the efforts of campaigners to register hundreds more voters in Pennsylvania than in 2012, and called upon young voters in particular to participate in this year’s election.
“This could truly be the election where young people turn out in larger numbers than ever and make their voices heard,” Clinton said.