Texas Democrats pine for victory but generally concede their long odds. History is against them.
We Say: So the Clinton campaign is dropping 1.5 million dollars in a Texas ad buy. She must be really ambitious to buy ad space in Texas, right? In Deep Red Texas. But wait, there’s more!
Hillary is only 6 points down in Texas according to the average of national polls. Keep that in mind. Early voting begins on Monday, October 24.
Republished from DallasNews.com, by Todd J. Gillman, Washington Bureau, October 17, 2016. Image credit: image not covered by license
WASHINGTON –Hillary Clinton is pumping money into ads aimed at Texans and stepping up her investment in Arizona – unusual moves that reflect a chance to take advantage of disarray among Republicans.
Democrats have struggled for decades in both states. But pushback against Donald Trump has given them an opening, and Clinton is moving aggressively to expand the battleground in the final three weeks.
In Texas, aides announced a modest ad buy with a spot that features excerpts from The Dallas Morning News’ recommendation. Clinton is the first Democrat The News has backed for president since 1936. The Texas buy pales by contrast to the $2 million the campaign added to its bet on Arizona for advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.
First lady Michelle Obama will stump on Thursday in Phoenix, a week after her forceful broadside against Trump in New Hampshire, where she chastised him for lewdness and disrespect toward women. Democrats view her as Clinton’s most effective asset but it doesn’t stop there; the campaign is dispatching Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday and Chelsea Clinton on Wednesday.
“Donald Trump is becoming more unhinged by the day, and that is increasing prospects for Democrats further down the ballot,” Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook told reporters in a call focused on the incursions into Arizona and seven established battlegrounds, where the strategy is aimed at shoring up U.S. Senate candidates, too.
So far, Clinton isn’t planning to spend time in Arizona herself, though “we certainly hope to get her there,” Mook said.
That would be a sign that all of this is more than a feint to spook Trump into diverting resources.
In the last four decades, only two other Democrats bothered to buy advertising time in Texas: her husband, Bill Clinton, in 1996, and Jimmy Carter in 1976. Carter was the last Democrat to carry the state.
The ad will air in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and online. Aides wouldn’t say exactly how much they’re spending but it’s probably not a bold enough move to force Trump to divert resources. It does suggest the Clinton campaign sees at least a glimmer of hope in polls showing a tight battle for the state’s 38 electoral votes.
Clinton hasn’t stumped in Texas since winning the March primary, though she dispatched her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, to campaign in Austin and Houston about a month ago.
Nationwide, he’s been on the defensive since revelations Oct. 7 of a video in which he boasts of forcing himself on women sexually. Nine women have come forward since then alleging that it was more than “locker room talk,” accusing him of behavior of the exact sort he had described — kissing and groping them uninvited. He has called the allegations fabrications.
Texas Democrats pine for victory but generally concede their long odds. History is against them. Barack Obama lost Texas by 16 points in 2012 and 12 points four years earlier. Republican George W. Bush, a former governor, won by 21 points in 2000 and 23 points on his way to a second term.
Recent polls show a tight contest, though, with Trump’s lead dwindling in Texas. A poll for WFAA-TV and other TV stations around the state released last week showed him favored by 4 percentage points — within the margin of error.
“We’re not a battleground state,” Garry Mauro, Clinton’s Texas campaign chairman, told the Austin American-Statesman. But he said, “demographically, Texas is a rich target for Hillary Clinton. Historically we’re a red state, but because Trump is so limited demographically just to Anglo males, we have a real opportunity to change the dynamics in Texas significantly, and I think this buy shows that.”
Democrats are pushing the idea that Trump is collapsing, and there is evidence that’s not entirely wishful thinking.
His lead in deep-red Alaska has plummeted to 1 percentage pointand he’s tied with Clinton in Utah. Neither has backed a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson’s landslide over Barry Goldwater in 1964.
A win in Arizona would reflect population shifts that have long threatened the GOP grip. Democrats have eyed Hispanic growth there, as in Texas, for years.
Republicans hold a 5 percentage point edge in voter registrations in Arizona and say they’re not worried.
“The Hillary Clinton campaign is wasting their money in Arizona. And we appreciate it because they’re taking that money they’d normally have in places like Ohio or Florida where races are real close,” said Robert Graham, chairman of the Arizona GOP. “They’ve got an incredibly uphill battle.”
Trump badly needs those 11 electoral votes to stay in the game and other than Bill Clinton in 1996, Arizona has gone Republican in every election for 64 years.
“This is really a state that would really foreclose a path for Donald Trump to win the White House,” said Mook.
“Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric and deeply disrespectful remarks about Sen. John McCain have made Arizona more competitive,” he said, referring to Trump’s assertion in July 2015 that McCain, a prisoner of war for more than five years, was no hero because he’d been captured.
The Clinton campaign is pouring $6 million into advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in battleground states with U.S. Senate races that could tip the balance in the upper chamber: New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
The strategy in the final three weeks is aimed both at defeating Trump and maximizing Democrats’ chances of taking control of the Senate.
The campaign announced an extra $1 million combined in Missouri and Indiana. Trump leads in both states, but there are close U.S. Senate races.
On CNN, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway pointed to polls that show Trump leading in Ohio and a handful of other critical states, even as he falls further behind nationally.
“We’re thrilled to see those battleground polls,” she said. “We feel like we get an anvil dropped on our head every day and Hillary Clinton gets a relative pass.”
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