Almost four years to the day after Vice President Joe Biden, running for re-election with Barack Obama, warned a black audience in Virginia in August, 2012 that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was “going to put y’all back in chains,” Hillary Clinton played the race card last week. She was responding to a relentless flow of fresh disclosures from her hidden emails about the sophisticated pay-for-play scheme she and her husband were running from their Clinton Family Foundation during her four years as Obama’s secretary of state.
The Clinton campaign has begun running new TV ads based upon guilt by association. They cite the endorsement of Trump by leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups, and implied that he shared their views, even though he disavowed them long ago.
Meanwhile, Trump stepped up his criticisms that the Democrats have done nothing to earn the support of black and Hispanic voters, and that they have “nothing to lose” by voting for him in the November election. He promised to generate new jobs for the unemployed and improve the quality of life for residents of this country’s economically blighted and violent crime-ridden inner cities.
Resorting to accusations of “racism” is a standard tactic for Democrat candidates who are in a tough spot. They are especially critical of Republicans who dare to challenge the unquestioned support of blacks and Hispanics for Democrat candidates, who have taken these voters for granted for decades.
After enjoying a bounce in the polls from a successful Democrat convention, in addition to some unforced errors by Trump, Clinton has suffered through a difficult two weeks. Her corrupt practices at the State Department connected to the Clinton Family Foundation were exposed by a stream of emails which she had tried to hide. At the same time, a newly invigorated Trump campaign, under fresh professional political leadership, is delivering a much more effective and focused message and candidate.
TRUMP STAYING ON MESSAGE
Under the guidance of campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, Trump is addressing the concerns of Republicans who have had their doubts about whether his temperament is suitable for the White House. At the same time, Trump is rolling out economic, foreign policy and national security policy proposals that provide new approaches to problems which have been festering for years while Washington remained politically gridlocked. Equally important, Trump is now demonstrating the discipline to stay on message which he will need to maintain until the end of the campaign if he hopes to win in November.
Most recently, Trump has been pointing out to blacks and Hispanics that the Clintons and Obama have failed to address their problems. Democrats have put the priorities for the black and Hispanic communities, including immigration reform and generating jobs and economic opportunity for unemployed youth in the inner cities, on the political back burner.
Obama preferred to use immigration as an issue to attract Hispanic votes rather than a national problem that desperately needs to be solved. He had the votes he needed for passage of immigration reform at the start of his first term. Instead, he squandered his political advantage to push through Obamacare, with dire results for the Democrats in Congress. Meanwhile he and his secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton, negotiated another unpopular free trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), designed to send more American jobs overseas.
A TRUMP STRATEGY WITH A DUAL PURPOSE
Trump’s new message reflects a strategy with a dual purpose. First, it puts Trump back on the offensive, challenging Clinton for the support of key Democrat voter blocks, while reassuring members of his own Republican voter base, who may have had their doubts, that he is dedicated to the mainstream principles of tolerance and equality of the party of Abraham Lincoln.
Instead of answering Trump’s accusations, the Clinton campaign has chosen to hurl unfounded charges of racism at him. It is a diversion, so that voters won’t notice the newly exposed lies and corruption. Revelations of Clinton’s wrongdoings as secretary of state continue to surface on an almost daily basis.
As Elise Jordan, a commentator for Time magazine put it, “It’s not only about what the Clintons did, but how they react.” Unlike Donald Trump, Mrs. Clinton seems incapable of admitting her mistakes or dealing with their consequences in a forthright and honest manner. “Every day that she fails to seriously address the rotten consequences of her poor judgment, Clinton further erodes the already lacking public trust in her,” Jordan writes.
The latest allegations of racism hurled against Trump by Clinton and her defenders in the media are based entirely on guilt by association. A long article in the New York Times discussed federal allegations against the Trump organization for housing discrimination against blacks. It refers to incidents that took place 40 years ago, when it was under the direction of Trump’s father, Fred. He specialized in building huge middle class housing projects in Brooklyn and Queens. During that period, his son Donald was still a young apprentice learning the family’s real estate business.
Even Donald Trump’s critics acknowledge that ever since he struck out on his own, first making his mark in the high profile Manhattan real estate market in the 1980’s, there has never been a hint of racism associated with him until the Clinton campaign became desperate last week.
PROOF OF PAY-FOR PLAY
Ever since the email scandal started, the mainstream media has sought to protect Clinton by consistently downplaying its significance. But that ended last week when the most mainstream of media outlets, the Associated Press, reported that most of Clinton’s meetings during her four years as secretary of state with non-governmental officials were with donors to the Clinton Family Foundation. It is the closest thing yet to “smoking gun” evidence that she and her husband were using the Foundation to peddle their influence and sell special access and favors from the State Department to Foundation donors.
Out of 154 non-official meetings or phone calls on her schedule, at least 85 were with private-sector donors who contributed up to $156 million to the Clinton Foundation. Clinton’s advocates claimed the report was unfair because it was based upon incomplete information, but that was not the AP’s fault. It had to sue the State Department to gain access to Clinton’s meeting schedule while she was secretary of state.
The Clinton campaign’s lame response to the blatant favoritism to Foundation donors the report revealed was to claim that granting special access and favors to friends and wealthy foreign benefactors was just business as usual in Washington. For the American people, it was another reminder that Trump was right when he says government is no longer dedicated to serving their interests first. Clinton’s fresh series of lies as she tried to cover up her pay-for-play scheme was more proof why most voters don’t, and shouldn’t, trust her to act any differently as president than she did as secretary of state.
As Hillary Clinton was preparing to defend her tarnished honor by denouncing Donald Trump as a racist, another dedicated Clinton foe, Congressman Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, described how she tried to destroy the incriminating evidence on her email server. At her direction, Clinton’s lawyers attempted to permanently eradicate her 32,000 “private” emails from the server’s hard disc using a powerful publicly available program called BleachBit.
“You don’t use BleachBit for [deleting] yoga emails or for bridesmaid’s emails [which was Clinton’s original claim]. When you’re using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see,” Gowdy explained.
Despite the BleachBit effort, FBI computer experts managed to recover an additional 14,900 emails that Clinton had hoped were destroyed, and which are currently still classified by the FBI. A summary of the records of the FBI’s Clinton investigation are available for viewing only to senators and congressman under highly restrictive conditions. Gowdy says he reviewed all of the report, except for sections classified above his level of security clearance, and disagrees with the conclusion of FBI Director James Comey that the Bureau did not find sufficient evidence to recommend prosecuting her.
“I read every word of all of the witness interviews,” Gowdy told Fox News. “My takeaway was this: Remember James Comey said [Clinton] was not indicted because he didn’t have sufficient evidence on the issue of intent. I didn’t see any questions [from the FBI to Clinton] on the issue of intent.”
100 MILLION QUESTION
Gowdy suggests that the dealings of the Clinton Family Foundation may be the real reason why she kept a private email server and was so quick to destroy the emails on it which she deemed to be “personal.”
Gowdy suspected that Clinton wiped the server in an effort to hide her Foundation-related emails, because they would have revealed the corrupt relationship between the Foundation and her State Department.
“That’s the $100 million question,” Gowdy told a Fox News reporter. “I hope somebody in your line of work will ask [Clinton]: Did you consider foundation emails to be personal or work related? I have yet to see a single Foundation email produced by the State Department that was sent by her.
As bad as the disclosures of the past several weeks concerning the unsavory relationship between the Clinton Family Foundation and the State Department have been, more revelations could be coming. A federal judge ordered the State Department to start releasing the contents of the 14,900 new emails which the FBI found on Clinton’s server, and there are seven more computer discs full of information, including one with classified information, which the FBI has recovered, which undoubtedly contain more things that Clinton wanted to hide from the public. Judicial Watch, which pried loose some of the previously undisclosed emails through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit says that more will be coming. Another conservative non-profit group called Citizens United, which is famous for having won a landmark Supreme Court decision overturning federal donation limits for political advertising as a violation of freedom of speech, has filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit which is forcing the disclosure of more of Clinton’s hidden emails revealing the questionable activities of the Clinton Family Foundation.
LYING TO CONGRESS IS ALSO A CRIME
In July, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of a the House Oversight Committee, and Robert Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asked the FBI to look into whether Mrs. Clinton had “committed perjury and made false statements” about her email server when she testified last October before the special House panel looking into the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. She had claimed that she already turned over all her “work-related” emails to the State Department and that none of them “was marked classified at the time I sent or received it.”
Both of those claims were refuted by FBI Director James Comey in July. He decided not to recommend prosecuting Clinton for mishandling her emails, but admitted that he had not considered, at that time, whether her testimony last year before Congress about the emails amounted to perjury.
MORE CLINTON EMAIL REVELATIONS ON THE WAY
Last week, Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks group which released 20,000 hacked emails from DNC staffers, leading to the forced resignation of Deborah Wasserman-Schultz on the eve of the Democrat convention, told Fox News that the most “shocking” information he has learned about Mrs. Clinton is yet to come, and is likely to amount to a nasty “October surprise” for her campaign.
Assange said that Mrs. Clinton is hard to bring down because she has “elite immunity” to shield her from prosecution. “Because of the size of her network, the amount of cronyistic influences she’s developed, she’s a hard target for people to tackle,” Assange said.
Assange has been living under diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for the past several years to escape extradition to Sweden on unrelated criminal charges. US counterespionage officials accuse Assange and his organization of releasing many secrets which have damaged national security.
Some US sources accuse the Russian government of hacking politically sensitive computer networks, such as the one at the DNC, during this presidential campaign, and turning their most embarrassing findings over to Wikileaks for public release. Some Democrats have accused the Trump campaign of encouraging the Russian hacking effort. When asked about that by Fox News, Assange replied, “The Trump campaign has a lot of things wrong with it, but as far as we can see being Russian agents is not one of them.”
CLINTON’S MUD-SLINGING OFFENSIVE
Trump’s outreach over the past few weeks to black and Hispanic voters has a dual agenda. In addition to trying to pick up some of the minority votes which have long been conceded to Clinton, Trump is also sending a message to college-educated whites and “soccer moms” who have historically preferred Republicans, but who may have been turned off by Trump’s harsh rhetoric and counterattacks against critics earlier in the campaign.
Some may have also been disturbed by Democrat accusations that Trump has not been aggressive enough in denouncing those racists who have endorsed his message and candidacy without his knowledge or permission.
Clinton’s latest attack ad has played up those endorsements, associating Trump with leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and other notorious racist groups, even though Trump has never been directly associated with any of them. “A lot of what he believes, we believe in,” a KKK member said in the Clinton ad.
The Super PACS supporting Clinton’s campaign have continued to blanket the country with massive buys of TV ad time for their messages attacking Trump, while the pro-Trump ads of the general election campaign are just starting to reach voters in a few battleground states.
That imbalance in advertising is likely part of the reason why their relative standings in the national polls and the battleground states have not moved much since the latest Clinton scandals were divulged.
Another factor may be that most voters already know that Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy, but are waiting for Trump to prove himself to be capable of serving as a competent and responsible president. That is why Clinton’s surrogates and cheer leaders in the media have responded by escalating their scary portrayal of Trump as a racist, unstable egomaniac.
WHY ARE THE “NEVER TRUMP” REPUBLICANS STILL SILENT?
Shamefully, Trump’s diehard Republican opponents, whose continued public opposition to his candidacy would concede the White House to Clinton, have failed to react to the fresh evidence exposing the depth of her corruption. Those Republican, who told the world that they were too principled to support Trump, because of his sometimes crude but highly effective populist style and rhetoric, are now helping to put an openly corrupt and dishonest Hillary Clinton into the White House.
Has anyone heard a word from them about what Clinton’s election would mean to the country? How will she repay the Wall Street moguls who made the Clintons fabulously rich with outrageous personal speaking fees, the anti-American foreign billionaires like George Soros who have donated tens of millions of dollars to her SuperPACS, and the special interests from which her campaign expects to raise $2 billion?
Now that Donald Trump has heeded the advice of his Republican critics, have any of them congratulated him for turning the corner in his campaign?
Don’t hold your breathe. Trump is proving that he is a responsible candidate, that he can stay focused and on message day after day, and reach out to new voter groups. But his GOP “Never Trump” critics remain loathe to acknowledge his growth as a candidate.
Katie Packer, a former adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, who led a group that sought to stop Trump in the primaries, dismissed his new message on immigration and minorities as “a focus group-tested effort to not sound like a racist so that white Republicans can get comfortable voting for him.”
WILLING TO SACRIFICE AMERICA’S BEST INTERESTS
Are any of those establishment Republicans now willing to reconsider what their defacto support for Clinton’s election would mean for the ideological balance on the US Supreme Court? What the impact would be of Clinton’s continuation of Obama’s rule by executive order on the Constitution and, for that matter, the basic rule of law? Of course not.
Many of these Republicans were angry and frustrated because Trump, the political amateur, beat them at their own political game. They were embarrassed because they couldn’t stand up to his criticisms or convince Republican voters to reject his populist policy proposals. But that is no justification for these “patriots” to take their revenge by punishing the American people with a Clinton presidency that has already been exposed as doomed to be hopelessly corrupt.
ALL OF CLINTON’S SUPPORTERS ARE BEING COMPROMISED
Even before the details of the “pay-for-play” favors and special access for major donors to the Clinton Family Foundation by her State Department came to light, some of her supporters quietly admitted their embarrassment at her repeated and outrageous lies.
Now Clinton’s contempt for the standards of ethical conduct to which she committed herself to Obama, as a condition for naming her his secretary of state, is plain for all to see.
At her 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, senators repeatedly raised the fear that foreign governments could use donations to her Foundation to gain special treatment from the State Department. She assured them that it could never happen. We now know the truth.
Clinton signed a memo of understanding with Obama’s transition team in December, 2008, promising that “all contributors [to her Foundation] will be disclosed” and promised full transparency in its operations. When the senators raised concerns in her confirmation hearings that the safeguards against potential conflicts of interest in the agreement were inadequate, she simply stonewalled their objections, declaring that once the Obama administration had signed off on the memo, it could not be changed. In practice, the Clinton Foundation violated the terms of the memo in at least 7 ways while Clinton was secretary of state.
By remaining silent in the face of those lies and corruption, Obama’s continued endorsement of Clinton’s candidacy is a stain on his integrity and presidential legacy as well.
BATTLE FOR COLLEGE- EDUCATED WHITES
Recent polls find Trump trailing Clinton among college-educated whites in the crucial swing states of North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Iowa, most of which he must win in November in order to gain the 270 votes in the Electoral College which are needed to become president.
Based upon the outcome of the presidential elections since 1992, Democrats enjoy a substantial initial lead in the Electoral College because of the automatic majorities they command in California, New York, and other states with larger minority and liberal populations. In order to win the White House, a Republican presidential candidate has to virtually sweep the rest of the country, including the larger, more evenly divided swing states, such as Ohio and Florida.
Earlier in the campaign, Trump predicted that he could “expand” the electoral map by putting some traditionally Democrat-voting states in the industrial “rust belt,” such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, into play. That has not yet happened, leading GOP pollsters like Whit Ayres to say that Trump’s potential path to victory is very narrow, and likely impossible if he doesn’t do something to substantially improve his support among college-educated whites or minority voters.
Ayres said, “After 15 months of denigrating every nonwhite minority in sight, it’s hard to believe that he can actually do significantly better among nonwhites. But he may be able to soften his image a bit with some Republican and maybe a few independent whites who have been put off by his harshness thus far.”
Other commentators note that efforts by GOP presidential candidates George W. Bush and Mitt Romney to reach traditionally Democrat-voting minority groups were largely unsuccessful.
TRUMP’S MORE INCLUSIVE MESSAGE
Nationwide, college-educated whites have voted for the GOP candidate in every presidential election since at least 1952. Romney won them by 6 points in 2012, according to exit polls, but Trump trails Clinton by 1 point among this crucial group in a Quinnipiac poll released last week. The same poll found that 59% of likely voters agree that “the way Donald Trump talks appeals to bigotry,” while 36 percent disagree.
In an effort to counter that impression, Trump has begun delivering a much more inclusive message. He told a rally in Tampa, Florida last week, “We will reject the failures of the past and create a new American future, where every child, [including] African-American and Hispanic, all children, can live out their dreams together in peace and in safety.”
TRUMP “SOFTENING” HIS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION STANCE
Trump has also significantly softened his originally harsh rhetoric on immigration reform. Explaining the shift in tone, if not substance, Trump says that many voters he has met on the campaign trail have told him that they want him to differentiate between the violent criminal aliens, whom they agree should be deported immediately, and those who have lived here lawfully, except for their immigration status, for past 15 or 20 years. The media has seized upon this change and pressed Trump’s campaign surrogates on whether he still proposes to set up “deportation squads” to round up all 11 million illegal aliens now believed to be in the country and send them back to their native lands immediately.
But Trump has not talked about setting up mass deportation squads at his campaign events since last November. The official version of Trump’s immigration policy which was published on his web site months ago makes no mention at all of forced mass deportation except for violent criminals.
Trump’s advocates say that he is not flip-flopping on his original position on the immigration issue which ignited grass roots enthusiasm for his candidacy. Trump insists that he is still committed to building a wall along the Mexican border.
In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News last week, Trump set some limits to the “softening” of his approach to dealing with illegal immigrants.
“No citizenship,” Trump said. “They’ll pay back taxes. . . There’s no amnesty, but we will work with them.”
In a later interview on CNN, Trump added, “There’s no path to legalization unless they leave the country. When they come back in, then they can start paying taxes.”
TRUMP’S BASIC POLICIES STILL IN PLaCE
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, told CNN reporter Jake Tapper Sunday that the idea of setting up a deportation force was a “mechanism, not a policy.” He insisted that, “Nothing has changed about Donald Trump’s position on dealing with illegal immigration… and his position and his principles have been absolutely consistent.”
The new flexibility in his immigration proposals shows that Trump is being responsive to the practical considerations in their implementation, a stance that campaign manager Conway described as a softening in “approach” as opposed to policy.
Pence insisted that Trump’s most immediate concern upon becoming president would be securing the border and removing violent criminals. The question of the fate of those living peacefully in the US without authorization would be resolved in the future.
He added that Trump’s position is much different from Mrs. Clinton’s on border security, on whether people now in the US without authorization should have an opportunity to obtain legal status, and how the US should respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Trump provided some of that added detail over the weekend in a speech at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, introduced by Iowa’s popular freshman Republican senator, Joni Ernst.
Trump said he would strengthen the E-Verify system that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of immigrant workers, and create a new tracking system to make sure legal visitors don’t overstay their visas. He also repeated his promise to cancel Obama’s “unconstitutional orders” and “executive orders” on immigration.
With regard to illegal immigrants who have committed violent crimes, he promised that “on Day 1 [of my presidency], I am going to begin swiftly removing criminal illegal immigrants from this country,” and that if any question arose he would always “err on the side of protecting the American people.”
A THOUGHTFUL REVIEW PROCESS
Pence said of Trump’s current review process for his immigration policy, “You see a CEO at work. You see someone who is engaging the American people, listening to the American people, hearing from all sides.”
Pence promised that the American people are “going to hear more detail in the next two weeks that lays out all the policies, but there will be no change in the principle here,” he said. “There’ll be no path to legalization, no path to citizenship unless people leave the country.”
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said, “He has been listening to a wide range of opinions on that. As you might imagine, there are different opinions on this, even in his campaign. In a very thoughtful way, he’s trying to figure what the right position is.”
“By the way,” Giuliani added, “that’s what everybody criticized him for in the past: that he’s not able to do that. [But] he actually is able to do that.”
Others who have been part of the process of refining Trump’s immigration stance include Governor Christie, former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, as well as Trump’s adult children.
Despite Pence’s assurances, Trump’s talk about being willing to treat otherwise law-abiding aliens who have lived here for many years more compassionately has made some of the more outspoken supporters of his original immigration stance nervous. Trump is trying to thread the political needle between his original supporters, who are relying on him to stay tough, while showing the compassion and thoughtfulness needed to win back the support of more moderate, mainstream Republican voters who were put off by his aggressive tactics and rhetoric earlier in the campaign.
STAYING ON MESSAGE
Since Conway took over his campaign, Trump has surprised many of his critics by sticking pretty closely to the carefully prepared text of his speeches, which he now reads off a teleprompter to help him stay on message, with occasional improvised asides to the audience to emphasize his main points.
He is becoming more effective and comfortable with the new style which still lets “Trump be Trump” on occasion, while keeping him from going off the rails and giving his critics fresh ammunition.
When he adopted this style of speaking in mid-August, shortly after promoting Conway to campaign manager, many were skeptical that he would stick with it for more than a week. He had tried this more “presidential” approach earlier in the campaign, but soon abandoned it. This time, it appears to be different. Trump has realized that he is under heightened scrutiny, and can no longer get away with some of the more provocative tactics he used in the primaries.
A BLEAK PICTURE OF LIFE IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES
Trump seems comfortable with his new outreach message to minority voters. He notes that more than 50 years of consistent black political support for Democrat candidates has failed to bring economic opportunity, jobs, quality public school education, security or housing equality to black communities. If he is elected president, Trump has pledged to work hard to keep the promises to the residents of inner city communities which Democrat elected officials have broken by restoring prosperity to the entire national economy, and by eliminating unfair competition for available jobs from illegal immigrants.
Last Friday, Trump repeated his assessment of the situation in black communities during a speech to a largely white audience in Dimondale, a suburb of Lansing, Michigan, about 90 miles west of Detroit. “You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the [heck] do you [black voters] have to lose [by voting for me]?” he asked. In reaction, several pro-Clinton black leaders called Trump’s description overly pessimistic and said his attitude toward their community was condescending.
A DEPARTURE FROM PREVIOUS GOP OUTREACH EFFORTS
Joe Watkins, a black political commentator on MSNBC who served as a White House aide to President George H. W. Bush. “Trump’s outreach doesn’t really seem to be serious from the standpoint of past presidential campaign outreaches to minorities. They make a significant investment. They hire people who have significant experience. . . They talk not only to the opinion leaders but with leaders in the communities that have significant constituencies, like the NAACP and Urban League.” Watkins said. He added that Trump would need to make a much greater effort to overcome the negative impression of him among black voters today if he hopes to win over enough of them to help him in swing states like Ohio and North Carolina.
A NBC/SurveyMonkey poll last week found Trump trailing Clinton by 79 points among black voters and by 51 points among Hispanics.
In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney won just 6 percent of the black vote, according to exit polls.
“We have to do better,” said Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist who now spends a few days a week in New York working in concert with Trump’s senior staff.
While Romney addressed major minority organizations in 2012 such as the NAACP and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, they did him little good. Trump declined those invitations this year, knowing that Clinton’s political machine had already locked up their support. All that Trump could expect at those events was heckling by demonstrators and negative press coverage.
TRUMP’S ADVISORS SAY HIS OUTREACH MESSAGE IS SINCERE
Trump’s advisers say his message should be seen as an opening play in a robust push to gain more minority support.
Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, said, “What you’re seeing here is the real Donald Trump: Somebody who wants to make sure that his record of inclusion, his views on keeping all Americans safe, on improving the economy of all Americans comes across. It’s very much something that he believes in personally and he wants to make sure that folks realize that he will be an inclusive president for all Americans.”
Last Thursday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) hosted a conference call with nearly 100 black leaders. On the call, Trump’s director of African American outreach, Omarosa Manigault, outlined a plan to boost the GOP nominee.
“The Democrats continue to take the African-American community for granted,” Manigault said. “It is disconcerting that they would rather pander than formulate substantive policy plans that would actually improve conditions as opposed to continue down the current path of the last eight years.”
Republican strategist Brad Todd said Trump is in a no-win situation in that regard. “Republicans get excoriated for not trying to campaign in black neighborhoods and then laughed at when they do campaign in black neighborhoods,” he said. “At some point, campaigning for votes is campaigning for votes. Democrats believe that demography is destiny and voters don’t have the brain cells to get outside their birth certificate in the voting booth. At some point we [Republicans] have to give them credit for making each decision each election on its own merits.”
“Whether he’s successful or not in this,” he said, “I think you have to take his attempt at face value.”
THE INFLUENCE OF BEN CARSON
Trump is planning trips to urban areas, beginning with a speech in a Detroit black church this weekend. He is planning more stops at churches, charter schools and small businesses in black and Latino communities.
“We’re fighting for every single vote. We’re going to leave it all on the field. And that includes going where the voters are, and taking the case directly to them in their churches,” Kellyanne Conway told Fox News.
He is also developing a minority empowerment agenda based on the economy and education, Trump’s aides said.
His former rival for the GOP nomination, Ben Carson, is now one of Trump’s most effective and respected advocates in the black community. He has had several conversations with Trump about his experiences growing up in a poor, mostly black section of Detroit. As a result, Trump is considering a September visit to Detroit with Carson serving as his guide on a tour of his old neighborhoods.
Carson says of Trump, “He recognizes that what’s been going on for the last 50 years in major cities has not uplifted anybody. He’s going to talk about a different way, about empowering people through education in the inner cities, where failing schools have been protected by politicians.” Carson is helping Trump to develop and promote policies on school choice and vouchers, public aid programs that can help keep minority families together, and prison reform.
Carson has refused to get involved in the current name calling between the Clinton and Trump campaigns, in which Trump has called Clinton a bigot for cynically exploiting her black and Hispanic support while giving their communities nothing in return, while Clinton, through her ads, has called him much worse.
When asked about the competing accusation, Carson replied: “I don’t generally get into the name-calling thing. I kind of left that behind in the third grade.”
On the day the Clinton campaign released its anti-Trump KKK ad, she also mocked Trump in a speech in Reno, Nevada for insulting black communities “under the guise of outreach. . .
“Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in insulting and ignorant terms: ‘Poverty,’ ‘rejection,’ ‘horrible education. It takes a lot of nerve to ask people he’s ignored and mistreated for decades, ‘What do you have to lose?’ The answer is everything.”
[Editor’s note: Donald Trump’s entry into the GOP presidential campaign 15 months ago was the first time in his life he ever ran for elective office.]
Clinton stopped just short of calling him a racist, by saying, “Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”
While Clinton has effectively been accusing Trump of bigotry for months, Trump’s first use of the term in a campaign event was simultaneous with his initial outreach to black voters in Wisconsin on August 16. He said, “We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton, which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes.”
Last week in Ohio, Trump said that Clinton “sees people of color only as votes and not as human beings worthy of a better future.”
CHRISTIE PUSHES BACK AT CLINTON
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another former primary opponent who is now a trusted Trump advisor, was challenged by an ABC reporter Sunday to justify Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton is a “bigot,” an accusation which he first made directly at her in Mississippi last Wednesday night, the morning before Clinton released the KKK ad. (No media reporter has yet to challenge a Clinton supporter to justify her charges that Trump is a bigot.)
Christie is no stranger to the rough and tumble political campaigning, so instead of answering the question directly, he pointed out that Clinton has been making such accusations against Trump for a long time, and stepped up those attacks over the past week. “This type of discourse in the campaign is just unwarranted. But it was started by Ms. Clinton,” Christie said. “Ms. Clinton has started the idea of calling Donald Trump those types of names. And the fact is that, once you inject that type of commentary into this race, you can’t then sit back and start complaining about it.”
CLINTON VULNERABLE ON THE 1994 CRIME BILL
A private poll of black voters conducted by Trump campaign adviser Tony Fabrizio has also encouraged the outreach effort. It found they have a lesser affinity for Hillary than they did for her husband and get turned off once they learn about Hillary’s public advocacy for a 1994 crime bill, signed by her husband, whose results have decimated the male population of that community.
Advisor Roger Stone has urged the Trump campaign to promote the fact that “an entire generation of young black men is incarcerated” because of the 1994 law, which imposed longer prison sentences for a range of drug-related crimes.
While Bill Clinton remains very popular in the black community, Stone argues that his appeal to them is primarily “stylistic. . . Most black voters don’t know about the 1994 crime bill, and they need to be educated,” Stone said.
TRUMP HAS HALTED CLINTON’S MOMENTUM
Trump’s campaign suffered several rough weeks because Trump went off message following the GOP convention. He fell behind Clinton in the polls following the Democrat convention. When he couldn’t quickly make up the ground, the media started writing off his chances for victory in November.
Trump’s own campaign advisors, friends and family members reportedly warned him that he had to make a major move by Labor Day to halt the downward spiral. Trump realized he had to stop the unforced mistakes, and could no longer afford to give the Clinton machine any more free shots at his credibility as a presidential candidate.
The result was a major campaign staff shakeup, the dismissal of Paul Manafort, and the addition of new elements in Trump’s message directed at some of the mainstream GOP voters he had alienated. Another key was Trump’s new willingness to discipline himself on the campaign trail by staying on message. All this, combined with Clinton’s self-inflicted wounds due to the latest email disclosures, have halted the perception of a growing momentum towards a Clinton landslide.
CLINTON STILL DUCKING THE MEDIA
The polls have not moved much since Trump reorganized his campaign, but the Clinton camp has clearly been thrown on the defensive by the recent email disclosures. She has basically been in hiding since the Democrat convention. She does make appearances at fundraisers, gives an occasional speech to pro-Clinton groups. She has also made herself available for tightly controlled campaign photo ops, such as a recent meeting with carefully selected police officials, and an appearance on a late night entertainment show with a friendly host. But she has made few appearances at general campaign rallies, for a very good reason. One recent event was so poorly attended that it was embarrassing, prompting the campaign to “photoshop” a promotional picture of it to make the crowd look bigger.
The media is still letting Clinton pick and choose her spots. It has let her get away with refusing to submit to a regular press conference for more than half-a-year, because she does not want to be put in a position where she has to respond to challenging questions from reporters.
Going into the last two months of the campaign, Clinton has a major built in advantage in the Electoral College math. She also has much more money to spend on ads attacking Trump than he has to defend himself.
Trump no longer has the advantage of free media he enjoyed during the primaries. The bias against him in the mainstream media is making it very difficult for him to break through and project his message to the voters.
Trump still has ample opportunity to win back the lead. If he can continue to stay on message, and avoid unforced campaign errors, he can turn the spotlight back on Hillary Clinton.
In addition to her growing ethics problems, most voters understand they cannot trust her to vote against the TPP trade deal, and they remain opposed to her support for Obamacare. She has committed herself to continue Obama’s high tax, big government policies which are stifling jobs and economic growth, and she cannot escape the responsibility for the disastrous Obama foreign policies which she promoted as his secretary of state.
THE DEBATES WILL LIKELY BE CRUCIAL
The best place for Trump to highlight these crucial differences will be during the three presidential debates, starting on September 26. They will be his best opportunity to show all of the American people who he really is, and get out from under the lies and half-truths the Clinton campaign has used effectively until now to tar him as unqualified to be president.
The American people already know that Mrs. Clinton is corrupt and dishonest. The polls are close enough so that if Trump can show them that he is up to the White House job, he can win. After the millions of dollars of ads spent against him, the constant barrage in the media against him, and establishment Republicans refusing to stand with him, the fact that the race is still so close says much about Clinton’s problems and shows that she is definitely bea