President Obama Campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Florida


President Obama made some campaign stops at universities in Florida this week on behalf of Hillary Clinton, encouraging young people to go out and vote.

President Obama is on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton this week. With just 5 days left until the election, he made a stop in Jacksonville, Florida on Thursday to give a speech encouraging Floridians to vote for Clinton. Early voting began in Florida and many other states last week, and the theme of Obama’s speech was “vote early”. Thursday’s rally took place at the University of North Florida and was primarily aimed at students, though the public was also welcome. Over 7000 people packed the school’s basketball arena to catch a glimpse of history.

Obama was preceded on stage by former member of the Florida House of Representatives Tony Hill, current Florida House member Mia Jones, and congressional candidate Al Lawson, as well as other local activists. Hill urged everyone to vote, calling this election “the most consequential election of our lifetime,” saying, “we cannot afford to sit this one out.” This sentiment was reiterated several times by every person that stood at the podium.

After Obama took the stage, he began by bragging about his accomplishments over the last eight years in office. He reminded us of the great strides he made as president as far as growing the economy, fighting ISIS, and expanding civil rights. “None of this would have happened if not for America’s greatest asset—you,” he said to a roaring crowd.

He went on to discuss at length the many reasons why Donald Trump is “uniquely unqualified” to be president. He slammed Trump’s business sense, questioning whether someone like him could really claim to be a great businessman despite the many failures he’s had. He brought up the issue of the tax returns, wondering why someone running for president would refuse to release his records unless he was hiding something big.

The most striking part of Obama’s speech was when he referred to this election as abnormal. He said that we have become numb to Trump’s crazy rhetoric and we forget that this is not a reality TV show, it’s the future of our country. He pointed out that the way this election has been going is in his words, “not acceptable.” He went on to say, “It’s not normal, you can’t make any excuse for it.” His distaste for Trump was obvious as he went on about how unqualified he is for office.

In contrast to Trump, Obama stated that Clinton “may be the most qualified person ever to run for president”. He fawned over Clinton and emphasized her experience and dedication, saying she truly understands the world and has worked hard her entire life for this job.

No one in attendance really seemed to need much convincing that Clinton was the right choice, but they may have needed a little more encouragement to actually head to the polls. The importance of voting was stated over and over again.

Obama spoke directly to the young people in the crowd, calling on them to reject everything that Donald Trump stands for and do their part in helping to move America forward. He reminded us all of the progress he had made in office, and wanted to ensure that the next president would continue to build upon that progress. Young people historically are more apathetic about politics and tend not to vote as much as older Americans do. This election really hinges on the youth vote, and Obama really hammered that point home throughout his 40 minute speech.

Interestingly, the crowd seemed a lot more excited about President Obama than they were about Clinton, but this was probably the right audience to target just before an election. Before the speech began, a campaign video for Clinton played, starring Barack and Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders. The video got some of the loudest cheers of the afternoon, particularly when Sanders appeared.

The crowd itself was extremely diverse in every way. People of all ages, genders, and ethnicities were represented, and they wore shirts supporting feminism and social justice, with slogans like “White people supporting black lives” and “This is what a feminist looks like”. Quite the contrast from the Donald Trump rally that took place at the same time on the other side of town, which was described as “very white” by some that attended.

Next: Alicia Keys Films Powerful PSA in Support of Hillary Clinton

In these last few days before the election, it’s more important than ever to make sure you vote. Just speaking out or attending a rally or making a Facebook post isn’t enough. In this country, our voices are heard via our ballots. If you don’t vote, your opinion doesn’t count. Find your polling place, and go do your civic duty.