sexta-feira, 29 de julho de 2016
Be afraid: The Clinton-Trump general election begins
Be afraid: The Clinton-Trump general election begins
This will be one of the ugliest, most divisive elections in American history.
7/29/16, 3:21 PM CET
PHILADELPHIA — For four days here in this city of brotherly love and the nation’s founding, Democrats wrapped themselves in the language of patriotism and positivity, declaring the country would be “stronger together” as they nominated Hillary Clinton to serve as the first woman president.
“Love trumps hate,” came the cheers from the crowd, only days after Donald Trump’s Republican convention echoed with chants of “Lock her up!”
But as the 102-day general election starts, the reality is that both parties, saddled with two of the most unpopular presidential nominees ever, are bracing for one of the ugliest and most divisive races in modern history. And with Trump’s penchant for the unpredictable, a contest that has already stretched the boundaries of traditional American political discourse is unlikely to become more civil.
For all the talk of hope and optimism in Philadelphia, fear remains the most potent emotion stirring the base — of both parties. President Barack Obama warned pointedly of “homegrown demagogues” this week in the same breath as “fascists” and “jihadists.”
Clinton and the Democrats are selling the fear of what America would look like under a President Donald Trump to gin up turnout, just as Trump is selling fear of a dangerous, diminished and diversifying America under Obama, and himself as the lone man who can “make America great again.”
In her acceptance speech Thursday, Clinton urged the public to “imagine, imagine” the idea of a Trump presidency, calling him temperamentally unfit. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said
“I alone can fix it,” Trump said a week ago.
But the back-to-back conventions portrayed two parties that seemed at times as though they were speaking to and about entirely different countries. The Republicans featured families of people killed by illegal immigrants; the Democrats featured the children of the undocumented who live in fear in the shadows. The Republicans complained of a rising tide of crime; Democrats bragged about a rising tide of health care coverage. Democrats embraced “black lives matter”; Republicans celebrated “blue lives matter.”
Trump, whose latest book was called “Crippled America,” said in a statement Thursday that, “Democrats have been speaking about a world that doesn’t exist.”
“A world where America has full employment, where there’s no such thing as radical Islamic terrorism, where the border is totally secured, and where thousands of innocent Americans have not suffered from rising crime in cities like Baltimore and Chicago,” he said.
Democrats are thrilled to be occupying sunnier high ground.
If Clinton wins Florida, she can take the White House simply by carrying all the states that Democrats have won in every election since 1992.
“When I look at our American history, hope has always trumped fear,” Tom Perez, the secretary of labor who was considered by the Clinton campaign as a potential running mate, said in an interview. “His campaign is to prey on people’s fears and that doesn’t work.”
The strategy is not without risk.
While Obama’s approval rating hovers above 50 percent — far higher than Trump’s or Clinton’s — many Democrats are burdened with the nagging concern that 2016 could ultimately be about upending the status quo, and that Trump, for all his flaws, is a vessel better suited to that aggrieved cause than Clinton, no matter how many “change maker” signs delegates waved this week.
Still, the nation’s shifting demographics give the Democrats a head start on the path to 270 Electoral College votes this year. If Clinton wins Florida, she can take the White House simply by carrying all the states that Democrats have won in every election since 1992, plus the District of Columbia and New Mexico, which they’ve carried in five of the past six races.
“I sleep really well at night in this campaign unless I’ve had coffee in the afternoon,” Chris Lehane, a longtime Democratic strategist who worked in the Clinton White House in the 1990s, said of the 2016 landscape. “He has a math problem. I don’t think you can be where he is with millennials, women, married women, people of color, particularly Hispanics, and have it work out.”
Trump, in contrast, is trying to create an entirely new political map and coalition anchored by disaffected blue-collar white voters, flipping back Pennsylvania after nearly three decades in the Democratic column and states across the industrial Midwest.
“America is already great” — Barack Obama
Marlon Marshall, director of state campaigns for Clinton, told POLITICO, that the 2012 reelection map for Obama “begins to set the tone for what a map could look like” in 2016.
In Obama’s valedictory address on Wednesday, he gave what amounted to a plea for his coalition of minorities, young voters and women to come out again for Clinton, praising her as his rightful successor. “You can’t afford to stay home,” he urged them. And when Clinton emerged to hug her ex-rival afterward, it was the starkest representation yet that she has embraced the notion that she is campaigning for Obama’s third term.
And with that comes the weight of owning the current state of affairs.
“America is already great,” as Obama himself said. “America is already strong.”
But Democrats are nervous that even while Trump has failed to build a modern political organization, squandered most the past two months, been accused of racism by his own party, neither aired TV ads nor reserved time for the fall, has praised foreign strongmen including Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin, the race is essentially tied.
Trump has taken the lead in some surveys after the GOP convention, despite the disunity and disorganization on display in Cleveland. He has inflamed controversy almost daily, the latest this week with his public call for Russia to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” of Clinton’s from her private server, essentially inviting a foreign nation to hack correspondence from her time as as the country’s top diplomats
Inside the Clinton campaign, campaign sources say there are ongoing conversations about just how much to focus on Trump’s clear vulnerabilities versus trying to sell Clinton’s strengths to a skeptical public.
“People don’t know how much she’s accomplished and how big an effect it’s had on people’s lives,” Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said to Politico’s On Message podcast this week. “But here’s what I will say. I don’t think people will fully appreciate who she is until, knock on wood, she’s elected president.”
Of course, that would be too late for the campaign. So far, she and her super PAC have had the airwaves in the battleground states virtually to themselves as they’ve run in heavy rotation ads featuring Trump mocking a disabled reporter that strategists said has tested off the charts with voters.
But the concern is that a relentlessly negative fall campaign could depress turnout this fall. Obama himself summed up the challenge as he hammered Trump in his speech amid boos from the audience.
“Don’t boo,” he chided them. “Vote.”