For much of the Republican Party base open racism and contempt for other citizens and Donald Trump's uttering a new liar roughly every minute is now the new normal. Outside the fetid swamp of Fox News and alt-right websites, most Americans (even some Republicans) live in a much more rational world and Hillary Clinton is on a new outreach effort to woe them. One of the worse effects of Trump's campaign is that, win or lose, he has lowered what passes as acceptable political discourse - at least among far too many Republican - to the level of a cesspool. A piece in Politico looks at Clinton's efforts to court the sane Republicans who still shockingly cling to a party that has morphed into something truly hideous. Here are excerpts:
For months, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have aimed their pitches at distinct sets of voters, each candidate operating under the belief that a November win will be determined singularly by base turnout. That changes Thursday.
Clinton lands in Reno with a message targeted squarely on center-right Republican voters: Trump’s attempted pivot toward moderation, she will suggest, is a head-fake and the GOP nominee remains too extreme for you.
Clinton may not cast her move to zero in on Republicans so explicitly when she takes the stage here to rail against Trump’s position within the “alt-right” — a movement her team has branded as “disturbing” and supportive of a “dystopian” worldview. But coming after a two-week stretch in which Trump has made overtures to minority voters while suggesting he may alter his campaign-defining immigration plan, Clinton’s intended audience includes the Republican-leaning women and educated white populations with whom her opponent is polling poorly.
Her goal is to make sure they don’t buy into his new rhetoric and begin drifting toward Trump as the 2016 campaign enters the home stretch.
“Trump’s newly installed brain trust of Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes and Roger Stone completes Donald Trump’s disturbing takeover of the Republican party. We intend to call out this ‘alt-right’ shift and the divisive and dystopian vision of America they put forth because it tells voters everything they need to know about Donald Trump himself,” said Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. “Republicans up and down the ticket are going to have to choose whether they want to be complicit in this lurch toward extremism or stand with the voters who can’t stomach it."
It’s been a rough week for Clinton. The FBI found 15,000 more previously undisclosed Clinton emails, Trump called for a special prosecutor to look into the Clinton Foundation, and Republicans have increasingly accused the Democrat of hiding from the press as she chooses to raise tens of millions of dollars on a fundraising spree that has taken her from Massachusetts and California before returning for more cash collecting gatherings in New York this weekend.
So on Thursday, her campaign will try to reclaim the week. “They want to pin Trump to the Right and not allow him to pivot," said David Axelrod, the architect of Barack Obama’s campaign, noting that it’s a message pitched to the Republican and independent voters Trump is also trying to secure. “And, given her exposure this week, I am sure they are eager to go back on offense."
The case Clinton is expected to prosecute will center around Trump’s close ties to a movement that’s out of step with rank-and-file Republicans due to its divisiveness and reliance on white nationalism. Fully expecting scads of moderate Republicans to fall in line behind him before Election Day, Clinton’s team is looking to poison his attempt at normalcy.
That will go one step further than even Clinton’s usual anti-Trump diatribe: a stinging recitation of his questioning of Obama’s birthplace, his insults about Mexicans, his questioning of whether an American judge of Mexican heritage could be impartial, and his hesitant disavowal of former KKK leader David Duke. "Putting politics aside, I think it’s a very important point to make in the moral dialogue of the campaign. You can’t let this stuff be normalized, I wish more Republicans would speak out. I think it’s incredibly detrimental to civic society and it’s an attempt, under the guise of not being politically correct, to normalize hate speech,” said Stevens, one Republican who’s remained vigilant in his opposition to Trump no matter how many campaign shake-ups the nominee attempts. Most GOP voters, he insisted roughly 24 hours before Clinton was set to make a similar case, should recognize that the “alt-right” does not represent them. “They’re a bunch of racists. It’s a rebranding of something as old as time."