Clin­ton looks to con­sol­i­date lead

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

CHAR­LOTTE — With just over two weeks to go be­fore Amer­i­cans vote for a new pres­i­dent, Hil­lary Clin­ton — who has widened her lead over Don­ald Trump — is step­ping up her ef­forts in key bat­tle­ground states to con­sol­i­date her lead.

The Demo­cratic for­mer sec­re­tary of state, who is vy­ing to be Amer­ica’s first fe­male pres­i­dent, leads the Repub­li­can real es­tate mogul among likely vot­ers by 50 per­cent to 38 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional ABC News poll.

That is her high­est score since the start of the race to suc­ceed Barack Obama in the White House.

“We are be­hind,” Trump’s cam­paign man­ager Kellyanne Con­way ad­mit­ted on Sun­day on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” nev­er­the­less in­sist­ing that the race was not over.

At an evening rally in Naples, Florida, the 70-yearold Trump called on his sup­port­ers to turn out en masse to “get rid of Crooked Hil­lary once and for all,” us­ing one of his favourite nick­names for his 68-yearold ri­val.

“Numbers are look­ing phe­nom­e­nal in Florida. Don’t be­lieve the me­dia,” he in­sisted.

The Sun­shine State is a key prize in the pres­i­den­tial race, one of sev­eral bat­tle­ground states that are key for both can­di­dates if they want to win on Novem­ber 8. Most polls put Trump a few points be­hind Clin­ton there.

Con­scious that win­ning the mi­nor­ity vote will help lead her to vic­tory, the 68-year-old Clin­ton started her day on Sun­day at a mainly black church in Durham, North Carolina — an­other of the swing states up for grabs.

Obama won the south­ern state by a ra­zor-thin mar­gin in 2008, but lost it to Mitt Rom­ney four years later. Team Clin­ton is pulling out all the stops to put it back in the Demo­cratic win col­umn.

Be­fore a con­gre­ga­tion that in­cluded Sy­b­rina Ful­ton - the mother of slain un­armed black teen Trayvon Martin, whose death shocked Amer­ica in 2012 — Clin­ton called for aware­ness of the “sys­temic racism” seen across the coun­try.

“If we are hon­est with each other, we know we face the con­tin­u­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against African-Amer­i­cans and in par­tic­u­lar young African-Amer­i­cans,” she said.

“These con­ver­sa­tions can be painful for every­body, but we have got to have them.”

She ac­cused her Repub­li­can op­po­nent of paint­ing “a bleak pic­ture of our in­ner cities” and ig­nor­ing the suc­cesses of black lead­ers “in ev­ery field and ev­ery walk of life.”

Clin­ton will re­turn to North Carolina on Thurs­day with the woman who has emerged as one of her best cam­paign weapons — Michelle Obama. It will be their first joint rally for the for­mer and cur­rent first ladies.

“Part of the great joy of be­ing an Amer­i­can is to know that you can con­trib­ute to making things bet­ter for your­selves and for young peo­ple and for peo­ple who have been left out and left be­hind,” Clin­ton told a rally in Char­lotte.

“Every­body has a role to play and the choice in this elec­tion really is about what you want, what you be­lieve for your­self and your fu­ture,” she added, no­tably men­tion­ing the need to re­spect women — an al­lu­sion to Trump’s woes over al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

The new ABC News poll said 69 per­cent of likely vot­ers dis­ap­prove of Trump’s re­sponse to ques­tions about his treat­ment of women, af­ter a se­ries of women al­leged he ei­ther groped or forcibly kissed them in years past.

Trump has strongly de­nied those al­le­ga­tions, and on Satur­day threat­ened to sue the “liars” who came for­ward with claims about his past be­hav­iour.

Clin­ton is lead­ing na­tion­ally in both two-way and four-way con­tests by an av­er­age of about six points, ac­cord­ing to RealClearPol­i­tics. She is also ahead in most of the cru­cial bat­tle­ground states.

The 70-year-old Trump is cling­ing to an edge — but only a slight one — in tra­di­tion­ally Repub­li­can strongholds like Texas, where he has a three-point lead.

Team Clin­ton is gun­ning for a land­slide win, us­ing its mo­men­tum to push ahead in the bat­tle for con­trol of Congress. Both the Sen­ate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives are now in Repub­li­can hands, and the Democrats would like to change that.

Clin­ton un­leashed a pair of pow­er­ful sur­ro­gates on the cam­paign trail on Sun­day — her hus­band, for­mer pres­i­dent Bill, in Florida, and the cur­rent pres­i­dent in Ne­vada.

“We’re not tak­ing any­thing for granted at all,” cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook told Fox News on Sun­day. “You know, this is not over yet.”

While Clin­ton has re­ceived sev­eral ma­jor news­pa­per en­dorse­ments, Trump got his first ma­jor thumbs-up, from The Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal.

“Mr Trump rep­re­sents nei­ther the dan­ger his crit­ics claim nor the magic elixir many of his sup­port­ers crave,” the pa­per wrote, ad­ding he would in­stead shake up the US cap­i­tal’s “po­lit­i­cal elites.” —

Mi­grants, who were res­cued by Libyan forces, rest at Tripoli Com­mer­cial Port be­fore be­ing trans­ported to a de­ten­tion cen­tre, in the Libyan cap­i­tal, Tripoli. AFP

Jack­son Mthembu

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