If you don’t see a presidential candidate or someone from the first family in the Philly area this fall, you aren’t trying.
First lady Michelle Obama led a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton Wednesday at La Salle University. That follows a visit to Temple by Clinton last week, and a presidential rally at Eakins Oval the week before.
Ya think maybe Pennsylvania is important?
It’s striking that the Democrats’ campaign appearances are in the city of Philadelphia, which Clinton will win by a lopsided margin whether she shows up or not.
The campaign needs big numbers in Philadelphia to offset what happens in the rest of the state. You could look it up.
In 2008, Obama carried Philadelphia by a margin of 479,000 votes, and he beat Republican candidate John McCain statewide by 10 points.
Two years later, Philadelphia turnout sagged, and gave U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak a margin of only 290,000 votes in the city. He lost to Republican Pat Toomey by 80,000 votes.
So the Clinton team brought a campaign headliner to a Philadelphia college campus in back-to-back weeks, because Philly is important, and they want young voters to turn out for them Nov. 8.
Michelle’s a starI saw Michelle Obama at a rally four years ago, and it’s clear from her convention speech in July and this performance that’s she’s become a very polished act.
She began by establishing a warm personal connection with the crowed, noting that with a new president coming soon, it’s a time of transition for the Obama family.
“My husband’s got to find a new job. I have to find a new job,” Obama said. “We’ve got to move to a new home. We’ve got to pack up the old house, get it cleaned up so we can get our security deposit back,” drawing belly laughs from the audience.
When she got down to business, Obama savaged Donald Trump without ever mentioning his name.
She referred to a candidate who “thinks not paying taxes makes you smart or that it’s good business when people lose their homes,” both references to statements Trump made in Monday’s debate.
The crowd of 3,600 was probably more than half students, and Obama focused on the importance of young voters.
“Let’s be clear,” she said, “elections aren’t just about who votes, but who doesn’t vote, and that is especially true for young people like all of you.”
She never mentioned Bernie Sanders, who found so much support on college campuses, or Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who’s an alternative for some progressives. But she gave a warning.
“If you vote for someone other than Hillary, or don’t vote at all, then you are helping to elect Hillary’s opponent,” Obama said, “And the stakes are far too high to take that chance.”