Trump glosses over past actions
during the primaries.
He now largely reads speeches off teleprompters despite casting aspersions on other politicians for relying on the devices. He’s rolled out proposals on policies in which he’s shown no previous interest, including child care and paid family leave. And he’s made overtures to minorities, including blacks and Hispanics, groups with whom he has minimal support.
Trump’s latest attempt to persuade voters that he’s the lesser of two evils came on Friday, when he abruptly reversed course on his lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Trump’s role as chief promoter of the conspiracy theory about the nation’s first black president has left him with almost no support among African-Americans and has turned off moderates who bristle at its racist undertones.
Trump’s newfound acceptance of Obama’s birthplace seems unlikely to sway many of those voters. He offered no apology for pushing the falsehood for years and instead said the rumours originated with Clinton, another inaccurate claim.
“Despite what his campaign strategists told him to say today, I think he still believes that the president wasn’t born in America,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama adviser who was tasked with releasing the president’s long-form birth certificate to reporters in 2011.
Clinton advisers say their data show no fundamental shift in the public’s perception of Trump, despite preference polls that are tightening nationally and in some battleground states. They believe a summer spent blasting the airwaves with television ads highlighting Trump’s bellicose behaviour and questionable business practices, as well as a series of sharply critical speeches from Clinton, have largely cemented voters’ negative view of the real estate mogul and made it impossible for his pivot to take hold.
“Trump has been defined,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. She said that’s particularly true among women, who “think he’s the worst date they’ve ever been on.”
A recent Quinnipiac poll showed 59 percent of likely voters believe the way Trump talks “appeals to bigotry.” Among likely women voters, 62 percent held that view.
Clinton’s strategy has echoes of the approach Obama used to define Mitt Romney in 2012. Obama’s campaign spent the summer pummelling the Republican challenger with negative ads painting him as a cold-hearted businessman with little regard for middle-class Americans.
Romney was hamstrung by his inability to access general