The presidential candidates and their surrogates swung through Michigan on the final day before the polls opened.
Obama spoke to a crowd of about 9,000 people at the University of Michigan. He told first-time voters in the audience that this year has been a strange one in politics. The president said he’s been frustrated by a lot of the news coverage of the campaign.
“There’s a bunch of it that has not been on the level,” he said. “But I want to tell you something right now. The way campaigns have unfolded, we just start accepting crazy stuff as normal.”
The president continued onto say that the nation’s economic recovery is at stake in Tuesday’s election.
“I think we’ve earned some credibility here,” he said. “So, when I tell you that Donald Trump is not the guy who’s going to look out for you, you need to listen. Do not be bamboozled.”
In west Michigan, Hillary Clinton held a rally on her way to Philadelphia.
Spectators and supporters lined up outside a Grand Valley State University auditorium for a chance to see the Democratic candidate one last time before Election Day.
There was a small group of student protesters with large signs supporting Republican candidate Donald Trump on the lawn outside the auditorium.
Alexander Johnston is a student at Grand Valley and a Clinton supporter. He shook hands with senior Tucker Haske, who organized the Trump protest. They spoke briefly before Johnston returned to his place in line.
“He said I respect your First Amendment rights, and I said thank you, I respect yours too,” said Haske. “And I said I think that protesting is a positive thing for both sides of the parties.”
Johnston, who carried a sign saying, “LGBT & With Her,” said he has family members that are Trump supporters.
“There’s no sense in fighting,” Johnston said. “We’ve had enough of that, especially in the past year. It’s been pretty rough.”
During her speech, Clinton’s message echoed the brief exchange between Johnston and Haske. She focused on the need to bring the country together after a very divisive election.
“But I’ve been saying this for months,” she said. “To say that we need more of two things right now. We need more love and kindness in America.”
The final word of the day went to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump held a rally in Grand Rapids, less than 20 miles from where Clinton held her rally earlier at Grand Valley State University.
Trump targeted Michigan early in his candidacy. By the end of September, he had already visited the state five times. So, it was maybe fitting that his final rally before the election would be in Michigan.
Michigan hasn’t gone Republican since the 1988 election, and polls still show the state leaning Democratic. But Trump still sees Michigan as critical for him to take the White House.
“Michigan now stands at the crossroad of history,” he said. “If we win Michigan, we will win this historic election.”
Michigan has not gone to a Republican candidate for president since the 1988 election.
—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network. Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network. Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org