So many people piled into the Hillary Clinton’s rally at the Lincoln High School Road House, the gym air was thick and stuffy. From the moment we checked in with the uptight campaign workers that almost didn’t let us receive our press passes to having the Secret Service go through every piece of equipment we brought in, it was clear the Hillary campaign was taking every inch of this event seriously.
As we entered the gym, the crowd wasn’t exactly going wild. There were a few exceptional individuals who jumped around attempting to pump up the crowd, or a campaign worker who came onto the stage saying to the crowd, “We need to liven this place up!” through chants of “I say ‘Madame’, you say ‘President’!” and “I believe that SHE will win!” A little forced, but it’s much more difficult to get a crowd of people over the age of 35 to scream and shout than a crowd of pumped college students.
Despite the lack of general screaming and hoopla, every rally attendee I spoke to was dedicated beyond a doubt to Hillary, and had been so for quite some time. One full time volunteer, Tom D’Angora, has been a Hillary supporter for eight years, and lauded Hillary supporters in general for their dedication.
“A lot of us have been with Hilary for decades,” D’Angora says. “Her supporters are strong, sturdy and enthusiastic. They go the distance, and not because it’s cool, not because it’s a trend. That kind of enthusiasm is worth its weight in gold.”
I noticed this with other rally attendees I spoke to, who looked calm and composed on the outside, but were solid and unshakeable in their support of Hillary. Before the actual programming started for the evening, a casual and professional vibe remained steady in the gym.
When describing the demographics of the crowd, besides what seemed to be a common affinity for J. Crew-style clothing, the crowd at Clinton’s campaign can’t be summed up under one descriptor. Various special interest groups came out donning matching t-shirts in groups of five to 10 people, such as teacher’s rights groups, Planned Parenthood supporters, the Human Rights Campaign and supporters of the Black Lives Matters movement. Beyond special interest groups, the age demographic ranged from what appeared to be mid-twenties to those beyond retirement age. This felt like such a 180 degree turn from the demographic of the Bernie Sanders rally.
Once the programming began for the evening, the crowd listened attentively to videos, speakers and Clinton family members all putting Hillary’s experience and perseverance up on a pedestal. When Hillary came out to speak, she had specific figures and plans to tout, and was on point with enthusiasm and ferocity.
Although the crowd may have felt mellow during pre-rally events, the reactions during the speech shifted my view of the dedication of Hillary voters. In the media they’ve been portrayed as dispassionate, but I’ll admit I was impressed. Her supporters don’t need to scream and shout and run around like maniacs in the hours before her appearance to show their support – many of them have been behind her for years, and that speaks louder than a few high pitched screams in a sweaty gym. They save the screaming for when Hillary comes out, and they cheered like their vote depended on it. Not bad for a group of middle age parents and professionals.
If you liked this piece, be sure to check out Mary’s perspective from within the crowd a the Trump and Sanders rallies.