Clinton rally draws supporters, detractors in Cleveland

Siddiq Mumin, national director of the Citizens’ Super PAC for America, sits at his donation booth outside Hillary Clinton’s rally at the Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center in East Cleveland on Monday, June 13, 2016.

Cameron Gorman

Monday’s rally at the Cleveland Industrial Innovation Center for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, drew a mass of supporters‚ as well as those protesting her bid for presidency.

In her first rally since clinching the Democratic nomination last week, Clinton spoke on the topics of national security and gun violence in the wake of yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 dead and 53 wounded.

The choice of the innovation center as a stop for Clinton’s campaign caused the owner—an injury protection products manufacturer called Team Wendy—to receive a large internet backlash among employees and customers alike.

“It’s not only the email scandals (or) all the scandals with the Clinton Foundation. Wherever she goes, there’s scandal; there’s lies,” said Robert Carpenter, a Team Wendy employee and worker at the rally. “I don’t think she’s good for anything; I think she belongs in a prison cell.”

Carpenter plans to vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election, although his initial favorite was Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas.

“He’s (Trump) non-establishment,” Huckabee said. “He wasn’t my first choice, but like they say, anybody but Hillary.”

In a now-deleted Facebook post, the company stated that they hoped Clinton’s visit would provide a “a unique opportunity” to discuss the effects of traumatic brain injury with her, as well as call attention to the “important work” done by the employees.

Despite the backlash, support for Clinton was evident in the crowd gathered outside of and surrounding the center during the rally.

“I think she’s the best man for the job—(but) that’s just a poor choice of words,” said Siddiq Mumin, national director of the Citizen’s Super PAC for America, when referring to the word “man.”

Mumin, who traveled from California to the rally to promote Clinton for president, was not always in support of her candidacy.

“I was supporting Donald Trump until he took a vicious stand against labeling all Muslims, banning them from the country and began to be divisive in his rhetoric,” Mumin said.

Mumin, manning a booth outside the rally venue, expressed his belief of Clinton being the best candidate for the presidency.

“I feel strongly about Hillary advocating policies to change politics, not just talk. I see her bringing forth programs to make a difference,” Mumin said. “I’m promoting a ‘stop Trump’ campaign … Trump is promoting a racist setback … and that is going to be very bad for the country. It’s going to evoke people losing respect nationally and internationally.”

Thomas Kirk, a first-time rally attendee, was selling Clinton buttons with his family outside the center. They attended to both sell merchandise and support Clinton as a candidate.

“If we didn’t vote, then there would be no choice for president,” Kirk said.

Support for Clinton’s bid was evident in the area surrounding the plant, with multiple vendors selling pro-Hillary merchandise, including buttons, t-shirts, and banners.

Others who came to the rally were neither pro-Clinton or Trump.

Richard Allen, a Kent State junior sociology major, Cleveland State student Robert Opsahl, and fellow protester Andrea Smith attended to promote the idea that a Clinton presidency would prove negative for the working class.

“She pretends to stand for the working class, but in the end, she’s a capitalist. And that’s going to be anti-working class,” Allen said. “The Democratic Party is not as left as what we need.”

Opsahi voiced a similar opinion.

“We came down here really to oppose three things—Hillary Clinton’s stance on fracking, Hillary Clinton’s stance on drone warfare, and Hillary Clinton’s white feminism,” he said. “She doesn’t actually represent all women because her feminism isn’t intersectional.”

Clinton is currently in support of fracking, and according to sources such as TIME magazine, helped Obama to advance drone warfare in the Middle East.

“If we do (vote), it’s going to be for Jill Stein,” Allen said.

Stein is currently the Green Party’s presumptive nominee for president. Most recently, she was quoted as saying that Clinton could be worse than Trump as president.

“We went to a Trump rally, too, to depose Trump, and the reaction was the same,” Allen said.

“Liberals and conservatives—in the end—(are)  both giving you the same message.”

“(Trump and Clinton are) two sides of the same coin,” Opsahl said.

Despite the strong opposition expressed for both sides, for some, the long campaign road is more of an opportunity for travel than a political firestorm.

Robert—who wished to keep his last name private, a native of Sarasota, Florida,has been working for Clinton’s campaign since the beginning of January.

“This is just a job for me, really. On the campaign trail, I get to see the country for free, and I’ve met a lot of people on the campaign trail in person. I have met Hillary in Wisconsin and I met her in Louisville, Kentucky, about five weeks ago,” Robert said.

For those like Robert, rallies are just another stop on the long haul of election season.

“I was for Marco Rubio, so I’m really not with anybody until we go down the road a few more months,” Robert said. “I don’t know who to vote for right now.

Cameron Gorman is a reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].