Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Trump and Clinton make final fight for West Michigan

Photo by Mike Lentz

West Michigan was a battleground during the final day before the election as both major presidential candidates held events in the Grand Rapids area on Monday.

Hillary Clinton spoke at Grand Valley State University Monday afternoon, and Donald Trump held a late-night rally at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

Michigan has voted Democratic every presidential election since 1992. Clinton sought to continue that streak, while Trump was hoping to capitalize on his recent gains in the state.

Clinton opened her speech with an attempt at playing Dutch bingo, citing a time she met President Gerald R. Ford while interning for the House Republican Conference.

Clinton denounced what she called Trump’s “dark and divisive vision for America” and called for Americans to come together to solve problems. “We’ve got to start listening to each other, respecting each other,” after Tuesday’s election is over, the candidate said.

The Democratic nominee promised equal pay for women’s work, debt-free college and no tax increases for anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

Approximately 4,600 supporters filled the university’s fieldhouse, and many attendees who reached the venue after the event had been closed gathered outside to listen to the audio of Clinton’s speech.  

When a protester wove through the overflow crowd shouting “Hillary for prison,” supporters countered with their own shouts of “Hillary for president.”

Trump’s rally was planned as a response to Clinton’s appearance at GVSU. He was slated to appear at 11 p.m., but due to a late plane arrival, he didn’t take the stage until 12:30 a.m.

Trump appealed to his Michigan audience by discussing the auto industry and his plans to bring industrial and manufacturing jobs back to Michigan from abroad.

“After we win, I’m going to be coming back to Michigan a lot,” Trump said, promising that his administration will fight for Michigan’s industrial workers.

The event emphasized Michigan’s crucial role in Trump’s road to victory:

“We are the epicenter […] Michigan is the center of the universe in terms of who’s going to be the next president of the United States of America,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Twice during the rally Trump said that the media consistently fails to show the number of people attending his events, prompting loud boos from the crowd toward the press at the back of the room.

Though many of Trump’s talking points were as expected, near the end of the rally he expressed the personal urgency he feels about Tuesday’s vote:

“If we don’t win, this will be the single greatest waste of time, money and energy in my life.”

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, also spoke at the rally, as well as several local Republican leaders, including congressman Bill Huizenga and former congressman Pete Hoekstra. Musician Ted Nugent especially targeted Michigan’s hunters by wearing camo and mocking proponents of animal rights.

“Go out and vote, and then go kill a big ol’ Michigan buck,” said Nugent, closing his portion of the evening.

Tom Wiewiora of North Muskegon, Mich., was one of the thousands who waited hours in line to see Trump.

“There’s something about it being his last stop,” Wiewiora said. “I wanted to be part of it.”

Lindsay Horner, a college student from Midland, Mich. who attended the Trump rally, expressed her eagerness to participate in her first election.

“If he wins or not, we’re making history.”

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