Clinton looks to aid fellow Dems
Trump’s campaign says he can still win, but his rival is spending time helping her party with Senate, House races
DURHAM, N.C. >> Newly confident and buoyant in the polls, Hillary Clinton is looking past Donald Trump while widening her mission to include helping Democrats seize the Senate and chip away at the Republican-controlled House.
Though Trump’s campaign insisted Sunday it was premature to count him out, it’s Clinton whose path to winning the White House has only grown wider in the race’s final weeks. Even longtime Republican strongholds such as Utah and Arizona suddenly appear within
her reach on Nov. 8, enticing Democrats to campaign hard in territory they haven’t won for decades.
The shifting political map has freed Clinton and her well-funded campaign to spend time and money helping other Democrats in competitive races. Clinton said she didn’t “even think about responding” to Trump anymore and would instead spend the final weeks on the road “emphasizing the importance of electing Democrats down the ballot.”
“We’re running a coordinated campaign, working hard with gubernatorial, Senate and House candidates,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. And for good reason. After a merciless twoyear campaign, the next president will face the daunting task of governing a bitterly divided nation. If Clinton wins, her prospects for achieving her goals will be greatly diminished unless her victory is accompanied by major Democratic gains in Congress.
“We’ve got to do the hard and maybe most important work of healing, healing our country,” Clinton said Sunday at Union Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.
For Democrats, there’s another reason to try to run up the score. With Trump warning he may contest the race’s outcome if he loses, Clinton’s campaign is hoping for an overwhelming Democratic victory that would undermine any attempt by Trump to claim the election had been stolen from him.
In a rare admission of fallibility by the typically boastful Trump, his campaign acknowledged he’s trailing Clinton as Election Day nears.
“We are behind. She has some advantages,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said. Still, she added, “We’re not giving up. We know we can win this.”
Conway laid out in granular detail Trump’s potential path to winning: victories in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio, to start. If Trump prevents Arizona and Georgia from falling to Democrats and adds in some combination of Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, he could reach the 270 electoral votes needed, Conway said.
It won’t be easy. A current Associated Press analysis of polling, demographic trends and other campaign data rates Virginia as solidly Democratic, while Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are all leaning Democratic. Arizona, remarkably, is a toss-up.
Campaigning Sunday in Florida, Trump called for voters to elect a Republican House and Senate that would “swiftly enact” his priorities, which include overhauling taxes, restoring higher spending on defense and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“We can enact our whole plan in the first 100 days — and we will,” Trump said.
If Clinton wins, Democrats would need a net gain of four Senate seats to retake the majority. House control would be much harder, considering Republicans currently enjoy their largest House majority since 1931. Democrats would need a 30-seat gain, a feat they haven’t accomplished in roughly four decades.
Clinton’s nascent focus on helping fellow Democrats comes with an inherent contradiction. For months, she deliberately avoided the strategy employed by other Democrats of trying to saddle all Republicans with an unpopular Trump. In August, she said Trump represented the “radical fringe,” rather than the mainstream of the Republican Party.
“We have not run this campaign as a campaign against the GOP with the big broad brush — we’ve run it against Donald Trump,” Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, said in a weekend interview with The Associated Press.
Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at The Quad, Saint Augustine’s University, in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday.