Clinton pushes for ‘Believeland’ support

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. 

Alex Delaney-Gesing

After Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, the major party nominees are hitting the campaign trail in a last-ditch effort to rally the only support that matters: votes.

Since the release of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s leaked “locker room talk” tapes two weeks ago, Democratic presidential nominee Clinton has upped her GOP criticisms, zeroed in on women’s rights and addressed the need for a more unified country.

During a “Get out and vote” registration event in Cleveland on Friday, Clinton urged Northeast Ohio residents to take part in determining the nation’s next four years.

“We know in our country the difference between leadership and dictatorship,” she said. “And the peaceful transition of power is one of things that sets us apart. It’s how we hold our country together, no matter who’s in charge.”

Clinton greeted those surrounding the perimeter of the rally stage before taking her place behind the podium in Cuyahoga County Community College’s Metropolitan Campus Gymnasium.

A sea of blue “Stronger Together” signs and white cut-out letters spelling “Ohio” made waves across the packed room of nearly 1,600.

“What a year for Cleveland: You really are ‘Believeland,’” she said, referring to the Cavaliers’ NBA championship over the summer and recent Indians’ qualifications for the MLB World Series. “We need you all in.”

An Oct. 19 Quinnipiac University four-way poll reported Clinton leading ahead of Trump, 47-40 percent, among likely voter support.

Clinton’s sentiments echoed ones she made in the same room during the primary season earlier this year:

“What’s important is we’ve got to focus on how we bring back our country. This decisiveness, the mean-spiritedness—that’s not going to move us forward,” she said on March 8, just days away from winning the Ohio primary.

Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, approximately 200 million people have registered to vote — the largest number ever reported in the nation’s history — according to TargetSmart, a democratic political data firm.

The opening of early voting across the nation has allowed more than 4.2 million citizens to cast their ballots early, One News Now reported. In all, an estimated 45 million people — about 40 percent of the voting population — are expected to vote prior to Election Day.

With the scrutiny Trump has faced for his lewd comments of women still strongly riding headlines, Clinton cracked down on her plans for increasing women’s rights.

“We’ve got to make sure that women and girls are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve,” she said. “We can not tolerate the kind of behavior and language we’ve seen from my opponent.”

Lakewood resident Katie Hagan, 72, hovered near the entrance to the Gymnasium entrance doors during the rally. With her phone switched to its camera setting, she took in the media and crowd scattered packed near the stage, documenting the moment.

She’s been waiting for a female president since the first election she voted in in the ‘60s, Hagan said.

Back then, women fought for some of the rights the younger generation now has today, she said. Though it’s a different time, “every generation has to fight some form of inequality.”

Hagan said Clinton’s stood up — and made a difference — for women’s rights through the entirety of her career. “She broke the glass ceiling years ago.”

Gina Tringhese-Pacheco, 29, of Youngstown, said she’s on board for women finally receiving equal pay.

“I went to college just as my male coworkers; It just doesn’t make sense to me why they would put in the same amount of time, the same amount of hard work and get higher rewards,” said

Tringhese-Pacheco, a 2011 Kent State alum. “It’s kind of ridiculous that we’re still dealing with that issue in 2016.”

Societal issues such as systematic racism, bigotry and discrimination shouldn’t be tolerated, Clinton said. “This is a crossroads election. But the questions really (are): Who are we as a country … ‘What kind of future to we want to create together?’”

Following the debate on Wednesday, she said Trump’s refusal to accept the eventual outcome of the election is “threatening our democracy.”

“We know in our country the difference between leadership and dictatorship. And the peaceful transition of power is one of things that sets us apart,” Clinton said. “It’s how we hold our country together, no matter who’s in charge.”

Born-and-raised Cleveland resident Charlotte Iafeliece, 69, snagged a seat near the podium. Her rhinestoned-white “Hillary” shirt and campaign-pinned jacket glittered under the gymnasium bright lights.

Iafeliece came with a friend, both of whom were known in their Euclid neighborhood as half of the “Obama-mamas” during the last major election. She’s sticking to her chosen party again, she said.

But in all the years she’s voted, Iafeliece said, she’s never seen an election with a candidate as degrading as the Republican nominee.

“I get a stomach ache just watching the way the other candidate is downgrading everybody — not just women — but everybody. He just doesn’t care,” she said.

Trump has torn the country apart, with the people who believe his rhetoric, Iafeliece said. “That’s the part that worries me, about getting this country back on solid ground.”

“We don’t need all this hate,” Iafeliece said. “My favorite expression now is ‘love trumps hate.’”

Alex Delaney-Gesing is a senior reporter, contact her at [email protected]