Clinton preps in case of a contended finish
Trump’s refusal to promise concession keeps team on toes
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton’s campaign is preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump may never concede the presidential election should she win, a development that could complicate the early weeks of her preparations to take office.
Aiming to undermine any argument the Republican nominee may make about a “rigged” election, she hopes to roll up a large electoral vote margin in the Nov. 8 election. That could repudiate the New York billionaire’s message and project a governing mandate after the bitter, divisive presidential race.
Clinton’s team is also keeping a close eye on statements by national Republican leaders, predicting they could play an important role in how Trump’s accusations of electoral fraud might be perceived. That’s according to several Clinton campaign aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Campaign officials stress they are not taking the outcome of the election for granted. But Clinton and her team have begun thinking about how to position their candidate during the postelection period. Long one of the country’s most polarizing political figures, Clinton has begun telling audiences she’ll need their help in healing the country.
“I’ve got to figure out how we heal these divides,” she said Friday in an interview with Tampa, Fla., radio station WBTP. “We’ve got to get together. Maybe that’s a role that is meant to be for my presidency if I’m so fortunate to be there.”
A refusal by Trump to accept the election results would not only upend a basic tenet of American democracy but also force Clinton to create a new playbook for handling the transfer of power. And a narrow victory would make it more difficult for her to claim substantial political capital at the start of her administration.
Clinton told supporters Friday in Cleveland that Trump is “threatening our democracy.”
Clinton said the election “is our chance to send a very clear, unmistakable message about what kind of country and future we want.”
Clinton’s campaign is making a strong final push in Ohio.
While Clinton’s campaign has focused on maintaining pathways to cross the threshold of 270 electoral votes, it’s now looking to capture an expanded number of states that could also help determine control of the Senate — including Republican-leaning Arizona.
Polls indicate that Clinton has extended her advantage in several toss-up states during the three fall debates, giving her campaign more confidence. She has maintained stable leads in states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado, as well as a narrow edge in Florida and North Carolina.
“They’re looking at it like this: ‘We’ve got these doors of opportunity open, let’s make sure we go down all of them,’ ” said Jeremy Bird, the national field director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign who is helping Clinton’s team.
If Clinton wins the White House, she will enter as one Hillary Clinton hopes for a large electoral vote margin in the Nov. 8 election to avoid issues. of the least popular firstterm presidents in generations.
While Trump has suffered from high unfavorable ratings, particularly among women, Clinton has been hampered by polls showing more than half of the public considers her to be untrustworthy.
Trump, meanwhile, vowed to bring jobs back to the steel town of Johnstown, Pa., as he campaigned across the state Friday.
The nominee said that he will revive manufacturing, steel mills and coal mining if elected.
Trump blamed “stupid people” for allowing jobs to move overseas and said cities like Johnstown have seen poverty rise as other countries “got the factories and the jobs and the wealth.”
In a race against Trump and independents Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, Clinton may struggle to reach 50 percent of the vote. But competing in states such as Arizona and pushing for Senate victories in Missouri and Indiana might help Democrats in their quest to recapture the Senate and give her a better chance of surpassing Obama’s 332 electoral votes in the 2012 campaign.
Clinton’s campaign is making a significant push in Arizona, which offers 11 electoral votes and has stayed in the Republican column in all but one presidential election since 1952. Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to carry the state, in 1996.