Hillary Clinton

Tim Kaine and Pusha T get out the vote in Liberty City

Hip Hop artist Pusha T, center, and Sen. Tim Kaine, Democratic VP nominee, are seen at a block party to promote voter registration in Liberty City on Saturday.
Hip Hop artist Pusha T, center, and Sen. Tim Kaine, Democratic VP nominee, are seen at a block party to promote voter registration in Liberty City on Saturday. pportal@miamiherald.com

Tim Kaine wanted Floridians to know that in the election chess game, the Sunshine State could choose the winner.

“If [Trump] loses Florida, it’s checkmate,” he said. “Let’s do some checkmate and win.”

The Democratic vice presidential candidate, in town for a private fundraiser at the home of Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, stopped by Liberty City for a “block party” with fellow Virginian Pusha T, a rapper. Pusha T did not perform but introduced Kaine and echoed his message on the importance of voting.

The Democratic vice presidential candidate, in town for a private fundraiser at the home of Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Jean Monestime, stopped by Liberty City for a “block party” with fellow Virginian Pusha T, a rapper. Pusha T did not

Kaine climbed into the bed of an F-350 pickup truck, its windows soaped with his running mate’s logo, and encouraged a crowd of around 200 people to vote. Dressed in jeans and sporting sunglasses, his main message was to get as many people to the polls as possible. Florida’s voter registration ends Oct. 18 after a last-minute extension by a federal judge. Early voting starts Oct. 24 in Miami-Dade and Broward, and Election Day is Nov. 8.

His visit to the predominantly black community of Liberty City, part of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s outreach to black voters, is his fifth stop in South Florida. Previously, Clinton and President Barack Obama have done call-in interviews and advertised with local radio stations with largely black audiences.

Kaine drew connections between Trump’s years of “birther” comments about Obama and the Dred Scott decision, which declared that anyone with ancestors brought to America as slaves was not a U.S. citizen.

“It hauled us back to the worst chapter in American life,” he said. “Why would Donald Trump want to drag us back to that day by saying Barack Obama wasn’t a U.S. citizen?”

Kaine spent most of the brief speech landing blows on Trump, whom he called a bully. He hit the Republican presidential nominee for his falling poll numbers after the release of the “Access Hollywood” hot mic audio, which he addressed directly.

“When he says ‘it was locker room talk, it’s just what men do,’ hold on a second,” Kaine said.“What you saw was the real Donald Trump, but that’s not what real men do.”

Kaine, a U.S. senator from Virginia and former mayor of Richmond, talked about Clinton’s recognition of and plan to combat climate change, which is already affecting Floridians and people in his home state, and contrasted the stance to Trump’s view that it’s a hoax.

Kaine brought up his years in Honduras — along with a few lines of Spanish — and said Trump’s second debate vow to jail Hillary Clinton if elected reminded him of what it’s like in non-democratic countries.

“He’s trying to say that if he loses, it’s because it’s rigged,” Kaine said. “Here’s what we gotta do. We’ve got to make sure that the margin that he loses by is so big and so clear and so powerful and so unmistakable that when he stands up and says ‘Poor me’ and ‘it was rigged against me,’ nobody will believe him.”

In the audience, Rolando Hallmon, a 42-year-old teacher and Clinton supporter, shook her head in disgust at the thought of Donald Trump winning. She said Trump would “turn back the hands of time,” and said minorities shouldn’t support any candidate that David Duke and members of the KKK want to win.

She looked at her godchildren playing with rocks on the ground, their mouths stained green and red from the shaved ice food truck, and said, “Whatever happens here, they’re going to be the ones that have to deal with it.”

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