PHILADELPHIA — On the eve of the presidential election, a Democratic powerhouse of President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton joined Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in front of more than 30,000 supporters — the largest rally of her campaign — to push voters in this swing stage to keep a Democrat in the White House.
The location was no accident. Many of the speeches emphasized the historical relevance of Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed.
“When representatives from 13 unruly colonies came together here to launch the greatest experiment the world has ever seen, our parents and grandparents defended that democracy,” former Secretary of State Clinton said. “They marched for civil rights and voting rights, worker’s’ rights and women’s rights, for LGBT rights and rights for people with disabilities.”
Bill Clinton used the language of the founding documents as supporting evidence for his wife’s candidacy.
“‘We the people,'” he said. “In other words, ‘We’re stronger together.'”
Pennsylvania is traditionally an important swing state, with 20 electoral votes, though this year most polls show Clinton likely to come out on top.
President Obama pointed to down-ballot races, including Pennsylvania Democrat Katie McGinty’s Senate race against incumbent Republican Pat Toomey. He said to best assist their candidate, Clinton supporters should vote against Republicans in congressional races.
“Gridlock is not mysterious,” Obama said. “It has been a stated Republican strategy since I took office.”
Toomey has not explicitly endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but he has also not come out against him. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll numbers have McGinty polling at 48 percent and Toomey at 47 percent.
All of the speakers requested that residents of the closely watched swing state take time to go to the ballot box Tuesday— and of course, with one candidate in mind. All of the speakers condemned Trump, though some, like the first lady, only did so implicitly.
“We deserve a leader who will ensure that our daughters are safe and respected and that our sons understand that truly strong men are compassionate and kind,” Michelle Obama said. “Being here tonight is probably the last and most important thing I can do for my country as first lady.”
Hillary Clinton implored voters to consider the consequences of staying home on Election Day.
“None of us want to wake up on Wednesday morning and wish we had done more,” Clinton said. “Years from today, when your kids and grandkids ask what you did in 2016 when everything was on the line, I want you to be able to say you voted.”
Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi provided musical tributes to the Democratic nominee.
Adi Mullen and Xhenet Capani, both 18, were invited to sing the national anthem at the event. Both first-time voters, they were ecstatic to play their part in history.
“We both cried,” Mullen said. “I just got so emotional realizing the Obamas won’t be here anymore. We’re obsessed with them. But I couldn’t be more excited to vote for Hillary tomorrow.”