יום רביעי, 29 ביוני 2016

Clinton reshuffles the swing state deck

The sudden interest in North Carolina is a sign of Donald Trump's recent slide in the polls.

Hillary Clinton arrives to speak at a campaign event at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, N.C., on

When President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton take the stage for their symbolic joint rally on July 5, it will send a subtle but unmistakable signal about the evolving outline of the swing state map.

By announcing Wednesday that the rescheduled event will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, rather than Green Bay, Wisconsin — the original plan several weeks ago — the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign telegraphed that it sees newfound promise in a battleground state that narrowly rejected Obama in 2012.

Earlier this month, the major pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action signaled the same, announcing it would expand its swing state ad barrage beyond its original list to North Carolina.

It’s a reminder of the fluidity within the swing state universe, but also a sign of Trump’s decline in national and swing state polling over the past two weeks. Holding Clinton’s highest-profile rally yet in North Carolina suggests national Democrats see an opportunity to go on the offensive and expand their map there — an investment that could have a higher return than placing it in a battleground state like Wisconsin where Republicans have lost in seven straight presidential elections.

“It does send a message. The only things that’ve really changed [since the event was originally scheduled for Wisconsin] that I think are notable have been that Bernie [Sanders] supporters have consolidated around Clinton as the nominee and Trump has taken another big pivot by doubling down on Trumpisms. It gives them the sense — it’s not yet foot-on-the-neck time, but it’s time to be aggressive,” said Democratic strategist Dan Kanninen, Obama’s state director for Wisconsin in 2008. “Rather than go back and defend your blue wall, go chase him into North Carolina.”

In the three weeks since Obama endorsed Clinton and her campaign originally announced that they would be appearing together in Green Bay, the political ground has tilted decidedly toward Clinton.

Between Trump’s response to the mass shooting in Orlando (the cause of the rally delay in the first place), the firing and replacing of his campaign manager, and the revelation that his campaign has far less money than widely expected, the national polling average has grown in Clinton’s favor to 6 points.

As a result, Democrats on Wednesday viewed the doubling down on North Carolina as evidence of an attempt to seize the political moment, even as they acknowledged a swing state fluctuation that worked against them — potential signs of Trump strength in Pennsylvania, where Priorities recently launched its first ad buys and the Clinton campaign started reserving time.

“You can stretch him really thin,” Kanninen said of Trump. “We did this to Romney and we did it to [John] McCain. You can stretch the map on your terms.”

While candidate trips to certain states don’t always tell the whole story of a campaign’s priorities — Obama didn’t visit Florida until late July 2008, for example, and Clinton still hasn’t since she dispatched Sanders — operatives are well aware that they send a public message when they organize events or book the candidate in purple regions.

Tuesday’s trip will be Clinton’s second in two weeks to North Carolina, a state where Democrats believe any dollar or minute spent by a Republican is a defensive move that takes away from that opponent’s ability to compete elsewhere. With two recent public trips there, North Carolina is taking on the look of a top-tier state for the Democrat. Only Virginia — which has gotten two trips and $1.7 million of television ad spending from the Clinton camp and Priorities between mid-June and the beginning of July, according to media trackers — and Ohio (four trips, $4.6 million) have been repeat public destinations for her in the general election so far.

“The fact that their first joint appearance will be in Charlotte proves what we have been saying all along. North Carolina is in play. Our state’s importance on the electoral map is evidenced by the races for president, governor and U.S. Senate all trending in favor of the Democrats,” said Raleigh lawyer Bruce Thompson, a member of Clinton’s national finance committee. “Donald Trump has virtually no presence here and is a drag on the rest of the GOP ticket. Hillary Clinton has a field staff in place and is investing heavily in media. She has the momentum in North Carolina and is capitalizing on it. North Carolina has clearly become an important state in this election.”

Still, the one state that both campaigns have hinted will be crucial to them is the old standby: Ohio.

For Trump, whose path to 270 electoral votes goes through the Rust Belt, it’s even more important than to most recent Republican candidates, given Clinton’s widely expected strength in Florida — thanks to that state’s growing Latino population and its current status as the single biggest recipient of Clinton and super PAC ad money.

Clinton has prominently used two of her high-profile surrogates — vice-presidential contenders, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren there in recent weeks. And Trump spoke in St. Clairsville Tuesday night after a high-profile speech on trade in Pennsylvania.

Clinton allies view her rapid-fire Ohio appearances as a way of pre-butting the week worth of saturation-level earned media Trump is likely to get in the state from his party’s convention in Cleveland in July.

“What they’re saying is Donald Trump is going to take this Rust Belt path that has eluded the Mitt Romneys of the world. So if she stops him there, she’ll win the election,” said John Morgan, an Orlando attorney and prominent Democratic fundraiser, reflecting on Clinton’s relative lack of public travel to his state so far. “What did Tim Russert make famous? ‘Florida, Florida, Florida.’ I think this year it might be ‘Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan.’ [For Trump,] that’s throwing three no-hitters.

אין תגובות:

הוסף רשומת תגובה