Hip-hop power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z stumped for Clinton Friday night in a last-minute campaignto rally young and minority voters, while at a North Carolina university US President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to African-Americans to cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate.
“Once you divide us, you weaken us/ We are stronger together,” rapped Jay Z before a rapturous crowd in Cleveland, Ohio. The queen of rap, Beyoncé, took over. “We have to think about the future of our daughters, our sons, and vote for someone who cares as much for them as we do. And that is why, I’m with her,” she announced to squeals from the crowd.
Before long, the “her” in question showed up on stage. “Hello Cleveland!” the 69-year-old presidential candidate and proud grandmother greeted the crowd. “When I see them here, this passion and energy and intensity, I don’t even know where to begin because this is what America is, my friends,” she said.
Clinton may be widely viewed as a policy wonk lacking the raw charisma of her husband, former US president Bill Clinton. But she’s had plenty of star power on the campaign trail, and in the final weekend before the November 8 election, Clinton’s star performers were making a concerted push to woo a demographic that was staunchly behind her husband and Obama, but has not been as fired up by the 2016 Democratic candidate.
At Fayetteville State University on Friday, Obama implored his supporters to head to the polls. “It’s very close by. Half-a-mile, that’s like a 15-minute walk. It’s across the street. You just have to cross the street,” pleaded Obama.
With Trump catching up with Clinton in the polls, low early voting figures among African Americans in the swing states has unnerved Democrats.
In North Carolina, early voting last week was running behind 2012 figures, when Obama stood for re-election. Polls from Ohio, a critical swing state, last week showed Trump with a slight lead over Clinton — in stark contrast to the last presidential poll, when Obama was ahead of Republican rival Mitt Romney in the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls by 47.9 percent to 45.8 percent the week before Election Day.
For Trump, no need for ‘J. Lo or Jay Z’
At Obama’s campaign stop in North Carolina, there were many in the crowd who didn’t have much love for any of the candidates, but were sure they did not want to see Trump in the White House.
Mostly though, they were just sick and tired of what has been one of the most bitter, fraught campaigns in modern American history.
“I’m just ready for it to be over. This election is the worst that I’ve seen since I’ve been voting. It’s very, very disturbing,” D’Leone France, a Clinton supporter, told FRANCE 24.
OBAMA RALLIES THE BLACK VOTE
Some of the challenges facing the 2016 Democratic candidate were on display at the Friday night concert in Ohio, when a number of audience members started leaving after the stars had stopped singing and Clinton got on stage.
Addressing the audience, Jay Z noted that Trump was not fit for the White House. “I don’t have any ill will toward him, but his conversation is divisive,” he said. “He cannot be my president. He cannot be our president.”
Meanwhile at a rally in Pennsylvania, another swing state, Trump mocked his rival’s star-studded campaign event. “By the way, I didn’t have to bring J. Lo or Jay Z,” he said to laughs from the audience. “I’m here all by myself.”
Obama defends Trump supporter at rally
At North Carolina’s Fayetteville State University, another man, all by himself, threatened to derail the event as Obama was addressing the crowd.
Holding a Trump sign, a white man dressed in military fatigues stood out among the primarily black audience, heckling Obama.
As the crowd tried to drown out the Trump supporter with cries of “U-S-A,” Obama attempted to subdue the audience with a, “Hold up,” – a plea he repeated several times until he had the crowd’s attention.
“Everybody sit down and be quiet for a second,” said Obama. “You’ve got an older gentleman who is supporting his candidate. He’s not doing nothing. You don’t have to worry about him.”
As security personnel attempted to lead the heckler away, Obama continued: “First of all — hold up, hold up — we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military and we gotta respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we gotta respect our elders,” he said. “And fourth of all, don’t boo. Vote.”
For many Democrats, video clips of the incident — which promptly went viral on social media sites — only increased the pangs of bidding goodbye to a popular president on his way out.
“Yeah, I do wish Obama had another term. He did a lot of great things for the country,” Brendon McQueen, a Democratic supporter, told FRANCE 24.
He’s not the only young African-American who feels disenchanted. With the choice at hand, many are already painting a rosy picture of the Obama years.
Tags: an impassioned plea to African-Americans to cast their ballots for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, Beyonce, bring out the black vote, Hillary Clinton, Jay-Z, pandering to African-Americans, rap stars