Photo by Stephanie Rivera.
The interior of the Long Beach City College (LBCC) fieldhouse was muggy, sweaty and cramped. The press lined up on one side of the room, focused, while a group of Hillary supporters lined the other wall, with a perfectly placed Clinton campaign logo behind them.
“I’m so excited by all the progress that you’ve made here,” Clinton told Long Beach, waxing nostalgic on the days her husband Bill worked with former mayor Beverly O’Neill. “And I know we can do even better. I’m a progressive that likes to get things done!”
The LBCC Hall of Champions welcomed Clinton’s last appearance of the day, just one day before the California primary election. Her time on the podium coincided with the release of a report from the Associated Press claiming she had just secured enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination, though the AP’s analysis includes so-called “superdelegates,” or un-pledged delegates who, though many have thrown their support behind Clinton, do not vote until the Democratic convention in late July.
She appeared onstage after appearances from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Senator Ricardo Lara, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, actress Busy Phillips and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell. Photo by Keeley Smith.
The Long Beach Police Deparment (LBPD) estimated 1,000 people lined up along the road outside the hall, while space was limited to 750 people inside.
About 30 supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made their presence known as they gathered outside the entrance to the college’s Hall of Champions gym.
Photo by Stephanie Rivera.
The group held signs protesting fracking, war, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Clinton herself. They chanted “Feel the Bern!” and “Bernie Sanders is not for sale!” and called for an end to homelessness and student tuition debt.
One protester, 25-year-old LBCC student Willa Taylor, echoed what seemed to be a common sentiment among Bernie supporters: they don’t trust a candidate who they see as flip-flopping on her stances.
“She says what she thinks the public wants to hear when they want to hear it,” Taylor said.
Wendy Martinez, a Silver Lake resident, said if Sanders wasn’t running for president then she would have supported Clinton because she would have been left with no other choice.
“And now we have a choice and that’s amazing,” Martinez said. “We can vote for someone and go to sleep feeling great that this man will affect our children’s future, our future. Everything he has said since he first started in politics he hasn’t changed—and he’s 70.”
At one point, a Clinton supporter walked over to protesters and shook hands, attempting to hug a few.
The event had some eccentric personalities, including the one and only Vermin Supreme, a self-proclaimed friendly fascist and “tyrant you can trust” of some internet fame, who also happens to be running for the presidential seat.
While most of the protesters stayed outside, a few made their presence known inside while Clinton spoke of her role in finding Osama Bin Laden (who was killed while she was Secretary of State), chanting “Benghazi!” and claiming she “killed Americans.”
Overall, however, the rally went off rather smoothly, with the vast majority arriving to lend their support to Clinton. The only no-show on the list of high-profile campaign appearances was actress Amanda Peet.
Aside from a few secret service personnel, the event was mainly secured by Long Beach police.
“What makes us different from the other guy is that we don’t ‘tolerate’ diversity—we celebrate diversity,” said Newsom before Clinton took the stage. “We value diversity. The guy on the other side is focused on dividing us.”
“This is America,” said Lara. He pointed to Clinton being the daughter of a seamstress, and himself being a son of immigrants. “It’s proof positive that we can work… we shouldn’t be vilified and ostracized like Donald Trump. We stand for diversity in California.”
He led a chant of “Sí, se puede,” before leaving the stage.
“Eight years ago tomorrow—on June 7, 2008—she bowed out of the race,” Actress Busy Phillips said of Clinton. “But she helped Obama get into office. She put personal pride aside and did what was best for our country.”
“As the mayor of this great city, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to Long Beach… and of course, welcome the next president of the United States,” said Mayor Robert Garcia to the crowd. He expanded upon Clinton’s qualifications, pride for country, and the differences between her and Trump.
Clinton delivered a monologue about her ties to Long Beach, her commitment to equal pay, immigration reform, the environment, early childhood education, improving Obamacare, ending overincarceration, increasing diversion programs and reducing the student debt burden.
Photo by Keeley Smith.
“I’m also going to do everything I can to defend a woman’s right to choose,” said Clinton. “[…]And I want to increase our number of clean renewable energy jobs, because some country is going to be the clean energy superpower. I think it’s going to be either China, Germany or us. I want it to be us, don’t you?”
She also threw in a few jabs at presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, highlighting her value of opinions of experienced people, and individuals with education. She alluded to Trump, saying, “He was asked who in his life were his advisors on foreign policy, he said, ‘well I listen to myself, because I have a very good brain.’”
“We’ve got to think about our nation and America about how we’re going to get things done, move us forward, lift us up, we are stronger together,” said Clinton.
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