On November 2, President Barack Obama visited the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to drum up support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Other Democrats spoke at the rally as well, including gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, senatorial candidate Deborah Ross and singer-songwriter James Taylor, who sang his hit song “Carolina in My Mind.”
In his speech, President Obama urged the audience to take advantage of their right to vote. “We don’t win this election,” said Obama, “if we don’t win North Carolina.” He also, without saying his name, attacked Republican nominee Donald Trump, saying that he is “Temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.”
The president also picked at Trump’s perceived “populist” ideals saying “He’s been able to convince some people that he’s gonna be their voice…keep in mind that this is someone who has spent seventy years on this Earth showing no respect for working people.” He continued. “The working people weren’t invited to his hotels or his golf courses unless they were the maids or mowing the fairway.”
The outgoing president also talked about what both he and the country has experienced over his eight years in office. He said that, despite the troubles of the early and mid-2000s, “we’ve seen America bounce back. “Businesses turned job losses into fifteen million new jobs, twenty million more people have health insurance than before… [We] took out Osama bin Laden, and made sure that people in all fifty states could marry who they loved,” said the president.
Mycenaean editor Will Sease recently wrote an article about the atmosphere of a Donald Trump rally that was held in Selma, North Carolina on November 3. “A Trump rally seems much more like a rock concert than anything a politician might hold.” said Sease.
The Clinton rally carried a similar feel to it. President Obama had “hypemen” of sorts, as Deborah Ross, Roy Cooper and James Taylor energized everyone up before the big event. By the time the president reached the stage everyone was pumped up and cheering, despite the blistering heat.
The president himself, known for his charisma, managed to make the otherwise dull premise of early voting exciting. He used fear as a tool in his speech, saying that the “fate of the republic depends on this election.” However, fear wasn’t emanating through the crowd; the feeling was more akin to a mix of anger, desperation and hope. They were angry at the Republicans for nominating Trump, desperate to keep him out of office, and hopeful that the election results would be in Clinton’s favor.
Evidence of this desperation is the fact that North Carolinians set a record this year for highest rate of absentee/early voting in the state’s history. Throngs of people rushed to the poll to vote for their favored candidate, or, a more bleak scenario, vote against the one they most disliked.
Obama’s visit exemplifies the presidential candidates mad scramble to get North Carolina’s fifteen electoral votes, which could potentially sway the results of the election.