Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Former president of the United States? Check. Down ballot candidates? Check. Glow sticks and bass drops?
It had all of the trappings of a usual campaign rally, except it was anything but. In perhaps the most typically Vegas rally of the cycle, former President Bill Clinton and Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki rallied a crowd of a couple hundred Hillary Clinton supporters Thursday evening at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion.
But the former president wasn’t the only family member of a presidential candidate sent to Las Vegas Thursday to push supporters to turn out to the polls before early voting ends tonight: Donald Trump Jr. hosted a small campaign rally for his father at a small business that manufactures construction equipment.
At the campaign rally-turned-rave, Clinton told the crowd that he wished he could be a DJ like Aoki for a living, but “for another week, I’m just a soldier in Hillary’s army.”
“This really is a choice over whether you believe love Trumps hate,” Clinton told the crowd. “For a year and a half, Americans have had acid poured down their throat.”
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto and congressional candidate Ruben Kihuen also made their pitches to the largely millennial crowd, encouraging them to vote early. Cortez Masto tailored her typical stump speech toward the younger crowd, promising she would address college debt, combat climate change, and champion marriage equality.
“We’ve got the masses, and if we show up and we turn out, we win,” Cortez Masto said. “That is what this is about.”
Kihuen joked to the crowd that he, Cortez Masto, and Clinton debated backstage over who Aoki should “cake” during the rally, though no politicians ultimately had cakes lobbed at them in typical Aoki fashion during the rally. He also shared a short version of his traditional stump speech, emphasizing his immigrant roots and his mother’s work as a housekeeper.
It was only after Clinton, Cortez Masto, and Kihuen made their pitches that the lights went out, the glow sticks came out, and the bass dropped — and the campaign rally officially turned into a rave.
Hours earlier — though perhaps not with the same panache — Donald Trump Jr. made the same get-out-the-vote pitch to 80 or so of his father’s supporters at a local construction manufacturing business, flanked by orange forklifts and scissor lifts. There, he talked about bringing manufacturing jobs back from overseas to create jobs for Americans and boost the economy.
“If any one of you ran your households like politicians and the government are running this country, we’d all be living on the streets,” Trump Jr. told the crowd.
Stressing the importance of voting early, Trump Jr. joked to the group that there was so much energy in the room that expected them to each bring 1,500 people along with them to the polls before early voting ends.
“You can send D.C. a message that enough is enough,” Trump Jr. said. “We’re fed up with the lies, we’re fed up with the deceit, we’re fed up with the false promises.”
Hands enthusiastically shot up in the air when Trump Jr. asked the crowd who among them was “deplorable” and “irredeemable,” in reference to words Clinton has used to describe Trump supporters.
“It’s not a campaign anymore, it’s a movement,” Trump Jr. told the crowd, to cheers. “It’s a movement of the people by the people and for the people. That’s what government used to be based on.”
Trump Jr. stumped in Michigan on Wednesday and will do the same in Arizona today, while his father rallies supporters in East Coast battleground states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Pence, meanwhile, has stops planned in Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Florida today.
Trump will return to the Silver State on Saturday evening for a rally at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Trump likely needs to win Northern Nevada, the rural counties, and a sizeable chunk of nonpartisan voters to carry Nevada and its six electoral votes.
Several surrogates, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, are also expected to campaign for Trump in Nevada this weekend.
On the other side of the aisle, the former secretary of state will campaign in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Ohio and New Hampshire over the next couple of days, while vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine stumps for her in Florida. Bill Clinton is off to Colorado tomorrow on the campaign trail.
Both campaigns have focused their efforts this week on turning out last-minute early voters, through both candidate and surrogate visits.
By noon on Thursday, 622,072 Nevadans had cast their ballots early, either in person or by mail. As in past years, Democrats have outperformed Republicans in early voting, 262,979 to 229,852 ballots cast. (Republicans tend to fare better turning out voters on Election Day.)
The first day of early voting saw the largest turnout, with 55,504 ballots cast statewide, though today’s early voting numbers should rival, if not exceed, that. Twenty-eight early voting sites are in operation today, many of them open until 8 or 9 p.m.