Clinton's campaign enters the final stretch
Late Monday night and into the early hours of Election Day, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton flew to a midnight rally in North Carolina, where she ended a marathon day greeted by energetic supporters, including performers Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi. This morning, Clinton flew back to Chappaqua, New York where she cast her own on Election Day vote.
Clinton’s final push in North Carolina was preceded by a Monday rally in Philadelphia which drew crowds of 33,000. With Jersey rock heroes Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi as warm-up acts, and former President Bill Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama looking on, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rallied the largest crowd of her campaign to mark the end of one presidency and the beginning, they hope, of another.
Monday’s final sprint marked the end of a blitz on swing states. On Thursday, Clinton appeared alongside musician Pharrell Williams and Sen. Bernie Sanders in North Carolina, and with Jay Z in Ohio on Friday. With three different states on the schedule for just Friday, the campaign unleashed its most popular surrogates—most notably President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden—to cover ground the Democratic nominee can’t physically cover herself.
President Obama is spent three days on the trail, beginning on Wednesday in Chapel Hill, speaking at the University of North Carolina. On Thursday he moved on to Florida, where has rallied support in Miami and Jacksonville—two cities with the state’s largest African American communities—and among young voters, in an effort to target a demographic that has been slow to turn up for early voting.
Anne Hathaway on Wednesday appeared in Philadelphia, wearing a ‘Madame President’ t-shirt and leading the crowd at Bryn Mawr College in singing happy birthday to the former Secretary of State.
With both presidential campaigns straying from the traditionally optimistic tone of the last days in the race, Clinton and her small army are drilling into the shortcomings of Republican nominee Donald Trump.
For his part, President Obama on Thursday told Miami voters that “Anybody who suggests that America should torture people or ban entire religions from entering America or insults POWs or attacks a Gold Star mom … or talks down about our troops, that’s not somebody who’s fit to be president.”
“Anyone you can bait with a tweet is not someone you can trust with nuclear weapons,” he added.
The president was riding on a similar message Clinton imparted to voters in Tempe, Arizona in a Wednesday campaign stop.
“Just think for a few minutes,” she asked the crowd of supporters. “Imagine he is taking the oath of office,” Clinton said. “Imagine having a president who demeans women, mocks the disabled, insults Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims, POWs, who pits people against each other instead of pulling us together — someone with a very thin skin who lashes out at anyone who challenges him.”
Fueled by their historically high unfavorable ratings, the candidates are fighting to remind voters of the opponents’ faults, hoping to energize their own supporters and sway any remaining undecided voters.
While policy is speckled throughout her speeches, Clinton is ending her campaign with an emotional gut check. And her multi-million dollar campaign ad buys funded with the $153 million she had on hand as of Oct. 19 reinforce that theme. Behind images of melancholy children, veterans and women is Trump’s own voice, saying, “Military is a disaster. They’re bringing drugs; they’re rapists. Putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing.”
Finally the words appear: “We are not him.”
But polls are tightening in battleground states, and Clinton’s and Trump’s schedules are similar, with the two even visiting the same states on the same days. Both were in North Carolina on Thursday and in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Friday. These three states — plus Florida — have been the most visited by both campaigns. If Clinton can stop Trump in these four states, the rest of the map may be within her grasp.
These photographs were shot on assignment by Mark Peterson for MSNBC Photography as part of his on-going body of work, “Political Theatre” which looks at the landscape of the American political system, published by Steidl 2016.