President Barack Obama visited the University of Michigan on Monday, just one day before Election Day, to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
In anticipation of Obama's speech, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton kicked off the event in front of over 9,000 supporters according to Rob Rademacher, Athletics Chief Operating Officer, at the Ray Fisher Stadium.
Even though news of Obama’s visit didn’t circulate until Saturday night, thousands of students waited for hours in the early morning to see the President and hear what he had to say.
LSA sophomore Lamia Ahmed said she waited in line to see the President of the United States in person.
“I love Obama and this is my last chance to see him during his presidency,” Ahmed said. “I was a Sanders supporter during the primaries but after he lost I decided to support Clinton.”
For Ford School of Public Policy junior Molly Aronson, the rally was essential to invigorating college students to be active on election day.
“I think Get Out the Vote is the most important part of the election because most people already have their own opinions about it and so having a rally with probably the second most influential person in the Clinton campaign right now is really important with this last stretch,” Aronson said. “Being here is really important to amp people up. The more excited people are the more likely they are to volunteer and get out to vote.”
In addition to supporters, a group waiting outside the entrance was protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, calling on Obama to block its construction. According to the group, the DAPL infringes on Native American tribal lands and poses a threat to local water supply. Solidarity with the Standing Rock protest is prevalent all over campus.
In addition to the President, Clinton herself visited Grand Rapids Monday and former President Bill Clinton campaigned in Lansing Sunday night. The heavy push by the Clinton campaign signifies that fact the Michigan may be in play after voting consistently Democratic since 1988. As of Monday, Clinton’s lead in the state remained in the single digits at five points.
This is one of many campaign stops made by Obama as he campaigns for Clinton around the country. In addition to Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Democratic vice presidential nominee, visited Ann Arbor. All have been campaigning heavily to appeal to millennial voters and trying to lock up what is now the largest voting generation.
“We've seen in past elections how powerful the student voice can be,” Gallagher said in an email to the Daily. “Big name surrogate visits to our campus is the campaign sending a message that our voices matter, that the decision about what direction this country is headed in is up to us. It's my hope that students don't take this lightly and turn out tomorrow, it’s our future's that are on the line right now.”