Opposite ends of the political spectrum

My trip to both parties; understanding how politics work through political rallies


Former US President Bill Clinton campaigns for wife and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Tarrant County College’s Trinity River Campus. Clinton came to Fort Worth on Monday to urge supporters to vote for Hillary on March 1, Super Tuesday. Photo by Kelly Monaghan.

Emma Cummins, Editorial Page Editor

By Emma Cummins

Editorial Page Editor


One played Rodney Atkins, the other played Gym Class Heroes. One was held in a large city park in Dallas, the other in a small room at Tarrant County Community college.


These events would be the Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio rally and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rally hosted by former President Bill Clinton, respectively.


As a conservative, I didn’t think I would find myself at both events. But, stranger things have happened. It was a unique experience to see such a hardcore left rally compared to a right-wing one.


There were similarities I noticed right off the bat. First, politicians seem to believe that relaying their personal stories as underdogs, garners large amount of voters; not a bad idea.


Rubio discussed his parent’s journey to the United States from Cuba, how his father and mother worked low level jobs but eventually rose up to give their son a way to succeed in the way he has. Ironically, Bill Clinton did not have as sympathetic story, so the former president recruited a Hispanic opener to relay his underdog story.


Both rallies seemed to have a lot of shouts to either keep America great or make it great again. However, they diverged in how they would do such a thing.


Bill Clinton proposed the normal liberal progressive ideas: moderate immigration reform, police reform, college tuition assistance, opportunities for everyone (emphasis on minorities) and other such things.


Rubio offered the conservative alternates and options: reinforcement of Second Amendment rights, reform of veteran aid, beefing up the military, repealing Obamacare, having better relations with Israel and a host of other popular conservative stances on current issues.


There was a difference in how Clinton and Rubio approached the subject of other candidates. Rubio went straight for Trump, and understandably so. He went on to discuss the Democratic candidates but did not waste much time, seeing Trump as being more of a current threat. Clinton did not spend much time on anyone else, and instead focused on his accomplishments, strangely enough.


This could be attributed to the fact that Hillary Clinton can not boast much in her entire career aside from being married to a president, the Benghazi fiasco and countless emails that she can not seem to keep track of despite her pure intentions.


This brings me to my next observation which was the oddity that Bill Clinton was campaigning for Hillary at all. In the past, Hillary has been notorious for being unpersonable and apathetic. The former president seems to make up for the lack of personality in Hillary, and so using him as a campaigning ploy was frankly quite brilliant. Despite his myriad of scandals, the Democrats have held on dearly to their Bill.


Being at both rallies, it was humorous to see the divide. Clinton talked about minorities and discrimination (a common talking point for the left) while Rubio talked about leaving opportunities to the next generation (a popular sentiment within the conservative bloc). The tactics in receiving applause were the same: passionate one-liners, clever jabs and saying what their crowd wanted to hear.


The divide was clear to me in the demographics of the rallies and what the candidates talking points were. Clinton focused on societal issues; his rally consisted of largely black people and other minorities. Rubio focused on economic and religious issues; Klyde Warren Park was filled with mainly white Christians.


Neither of these groups are less equal in any way, but it shows a larger dichotomy between the left and right. The issues and mindsets of the two parties are so disparate it is no surprise to understand why current issues have become so incredibly controversial to discuss.


I will not soon forget how strange it was to be in both situations, and see two speakers that could not have been more different in terms of ideology, but similar in tactics. Clinton will always be a skilled prevaricator and Rubio a talented crowd pleaser. Whatever happens on Super Tuesday, experiencing both sides will change how I see politics.