With six days to blunt Donald Trump’s late momentum, Hillary Clinton is pulling out all the stops to get black and Hispanic voters to turn out in greater numbers, hoping to buoy her chances in battleground states like Florida, Nevada and Arizona.
With early-voting data showing lagging enthusiasm among African-American voters compared with President Barack Obama’s two campaigns — though with higher numbers among Latinos — Obama hit the trail with an impassioned speech in critical North Carolina underlining the parallel between Trump’s false claims of potential voter fraud in inner cities and local efforts by Republicans in the state to make it harder for blacks to vote.
Framing the election as a modern day civil rights battle, Obama said: “If you don’t vote, then you’ve done the work of those who would suppress your vote.”
Clinton’s campaign is amplifying the president’s message with a new radio ad to run in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina highlighting Trump’s disrespect for black voters. And Priorities USA Action, the main Clinton super PAC, rolled out its own black turnout ad, featuring Obama — as did the Democratic National Committee, with another radio ad featuring Obama.
But Trump, too, is targeting lagging aspects of his base — in his case, Republican voters who may finally be warming to his candidacy — and attempting to convey the same urgency as his opponent and her supporters.
Hours after Trump’s campaign released a new television ad that is an obvious appeal to excite Republicans, the GOP nominee, who has rarely gone more than a few hours without touting flattering polls, told supporters in Miami not to believe new polls showing him ahead.
“Pretend we’re slightly behind,” Trump said. “We don’t want to blow this.”
In reality, however, Trump is still behind in the broader race for the White House, according to national polls and an electoral analysis that shows Clinton holding a serious advantage in the battle for 270 electoral votes. But with that lead increasingly in doubt amid new polls that show tightening races in several swing states, Clinton is focusing on turning out Latinos and exciting the African-American coalition that twice propelled President Obama into the White House.
With voters moving slightly toward Trump just as the media’s focus has shifted to Clinton, the GOP nominee is trying hard to stay on script and to muzzle his own freewheeling bombast that has sparked several damaging news cycles, in part by diverting attention from his opponent. His own remarks Wednesday morning in Miami, which included an extended riff on “dishonesty” in journalism and more “Lock her up!” chants from supporters, focused largely on Clinton, whom he attacked as corrupt while pointing to new WikiLeaks revelations and declaring the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server to be “the biggest scandal since Watergate.”
Trump predicted that Clinton’s election would bring “an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis” because of the looming investigation and suggested Americans would not want to endure a second Clinton administration marred by scandal.
“Did we just go through this?” he asked. He said, “She’ll be in court for her entire tenure, and she’ll be convicted.”
But she’s not the only legally challenged contender. Indeed, Clinton stood to get a boost Wednesday afternoon, when a woman who has accused Trump of child rape was scheduled to identify herself and speak publicly about the allegations at a news conference in Los Angeles. But the event was canceled because, according to the woman’s lawyer, “she is living in fear” and was “afraid to show her face.”
Meanwhile, Clinton is embarking on a western offensive on Wednesday, departing Southern Florida for a swing through Las Vegas and Tempe, Arizona — her first stop in the traditionally Republican state where her campaign on Wednesday doubled its closing TV ad buy, a campaign official told POLITICO. New CNN/ORC polls showed Trump leading Clinton by 5 percentage points in Arizona and 6 points in Nevada, although those surveys do not align with either campaign’s internal polling, especially the numbers in Nevada, where Clinton leads and appears to have run up a large lead based on early voting numbers.
Clinton’s campaign Wednesday also debuted a new series of television, radio and digital ads in both English and Spanish highlighting the power of the 27 million Latinos eligible to vote.
The visits are designed to be the latest in Clinton’s closing-week run through Trump’s most offensive hits. After highlighting the danger of entrusting him with the national security in Ohio on Monday, and underscoring his mistreatment of women in Florida on Tuesday — unveiling new television spots in both cases — the campaign was on to his divisive rhetoric, particularly about Latinos, on Wednesday.
Before flying west, Clinton stumped briefly in Broward County, Florida’s most heavily Democratic county, greeting a group of roughly 100 Caribbean and African-American supporters at an outdoor strip mall Wednesday morning.
But with Clinton in the air for several hours midday, the campaign’s surrogates took on much of the load, offering a prime example of the Democrat’s firepower. While President Barack Obama looked to rally young voters and African-Americans in North Carolina, Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in Florida, as did Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Nevada and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin and Michigan. (Former President Bill Clinton was due to join running mate Tim Kaine in Des Moines, but the campaign canceled that event in the morning after news of the police shootings in the area overnight.)
None of them matched the forcefulness of the president, whose speech was carried live in its entirety by CNN and MSNBC.
Working up a sweat speaking to a campus crowd in Chapel Hill, Obama took issue with Trump’s promise to be the “voice” of working people, arguing that the billionaire mogul “has spent 70 years on this earth showing no respect for working people.”
Reminding voters that Trump has “vilified minorities, vilified people with disabilities,” the president asked, “How is that person going to be your voice?” And he argued that Trump’s past statements and controversial history of racially tinged rhetoric is a window on his character, not a behavior or belief he’s likely to change upon becoming president.
“If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers,” Obama said, “then you’ll tolerate that support when you’re in office.”
The GOP nominee “has been getting help from people in this state who have been trying to keep you from voting,” Obama said, adding that he finds it “troubling” that Republicans are making it “harder for African-Americans to vote.”
Gabe Debenedetti and Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.
Powered by WPeMatico