THURSDAY, Nov. 1 — If the Democrats’ Get Out the Vote rally at Lansing Community College today was any indication, Michigan Republicans should be very nervous about the outcome of Tuesday’s General Election.
An enthusiastic, diverse crowd estimated by LCC at 2,300 filled the school gymnasium, some waiting over an hour before the program began, then listening and cheering for more than 90 minutes. Most people stood the entire time as the heat rose until the air conditioning kicked in late in the rally. Two people collapsed.
The star attraction was former Vice President Joseph Biden, who spoke for a half hour despite laryngitis that caught up with him on the latest of scores of campaign stops across the country.
Biden recalled how he and President Barack Obama vowed they would not criticize Donald Trump publicly when he took over the White House.
But he said that changed for him when Trump said there were “fine people on both sides” of the murderous violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year.
“The words of our leaders matter,” Biden said, “and silence is complicity. But we will not be silent! This election is bigger than politics. The very character of our country is on the ballot.”
Biden extolled Elissa Slotkin, the 8th Congressional District’s Democrat candidate, who is locked in a tight race with the Republican incumbent, Mike Bishop.
“The 9/11 generation is the most incredible generation in the history of America,” Biden said, referring to both Slotkin, who served three tours in Iraq, and his late son, Beau, who quit his elected post as Delaware’s attorney general to join the Army.
Earlier, Slotkin recounted her experience as a first-year graduate student in New York City when the twin World Trade Center towers fell.
“My life totally changed on 9/11,” Slotkin said. “I knew by the end of the day that national service would be my career.”
That led to being recruited by the CIA and being “volun-told” to Iraq.
“I was working for my country,” she said of her 14-year career that culminated with Obama’s appointing her to be an acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
“I worked for Republicans and Democrats. I worked in the Bush White House and the Obama White House. In 14 years, no one ever asked me if I was a Republican or a Democrat — because we were focused on service.”
Slotkin, who grew up on a family farm in Holly in Republican Oakland County on the eastern end of the 8th District, said she jumped into the race in May 2017 on the day House Republicans voted to repeal insurance protection for pre-existing health conditions.
Watching the vote on television, she said she “zoomed in on a man called Mike Bishop. He was smiling and beaming."
“You don’t get to vote against your constituents and keep you job,” she said. “It’s a fireable offense — and in five days we are going to fire him.”
Slotkin cast herself as a “Midwestern Democrat: practical, hard-working, independent-minded and willing to work across the aisle to get something done.”
Earlier, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow encouraged voters to support Megan Cavanaugh for the state Supreme Court.
“It’s Cavanaugh with a C, not a K,” she said, adding, “Speaking of Kavanaugh, I was very proud to cast a no vote.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer called on the crowd to raise their hands as she asked them if they supported a college degree “without a lifetime of debt,” better health care, gay rights, abortion rights and clean drinking water.
With virtually every hand raised in front of her, Whitmer declared, “Every one of you has a reason to win this election.”