SPOTLIGHT

Getting By With a Little Help From Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. as they arrive for a meeting with the House Democratic Caucus, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Kyle Trygstad
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Kyle Trygstad
Oct. 18, 2016, 9:55 a.m.

The Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign’s de­cision to in­vest ad­di­tion­al money in­to a co­ordin­ated ef­fort, even in states where she has little chance of win­ning, is a wel­come sign for House and Sen­ate Demo­crats con­cerned about their abil­ity to cap­it­al­ize on a dis­astrous Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ee.

Clin­ton cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook, a former DCCC ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or, an­nounced the new in­vest­ments in a con­fer­ence call with re­port­ers Monday. That fol­lowed a New York Times re­port last week on a House Demo­crat­ic con­fer­ence call on which As­sist­ant Minor­ity Lead­er Jim Cly­burn ex­pressed con­cerns about Clin­ton pulling re­sources out of states she had put away, and a story in Politico that de­tailed how the DSCC and DCCC had each re­ques­ted at least $5 mil­lion in early Septem­ber to help win back the Sen­ate and House, then re­ceived con­tri­bu­tions total­ing half that.

Their anxi­ety was war­ran­ted, as vul­ner­able con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans had been able to cre­ate sep­ar­a­tion from the top of the tick­et without even dis­avow­ing their nom­in­ee. Even after Don­ald Trump’s lewd com­ments on an Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood hot mic were leaked, two re­cent na­tion­al polls found Demo­crats lead­ing on the gen­er­ic con­gres­sion­al bal­lot by just 3 points—which in­dic­ates a neut­ral en­vir­on­ment and no sign of a wave.

It didn’t help that as the Clin­ton cam­paign sought to pull away from Trump, it painted him as someone so far out­side the main­stream that he was un­re­cog­niz­able even to Re­pub­lic­ans. That was the mes­sage at the Demo­crat­ic con­ven­tion, and it was re­in­forced in early Septem­ber by a Clin­ton ad fea­tur­ing Re­pub­lic­ans de­noun­cing Trump.

Trump has all but ceased reach­ing out to swing voters at this point. But to the Clin­ton cam­paign’s cred­it, their strategies have worked and she has now pulled out to a double-di­git lead in a couple re­cent na­tion­al polls—des­pite the can­did­ate’s own un­pop­ular­ity and vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies. If Clin­ton wins the pop­u­lar vote by a mar­gin sim­il­ar to Pres­id­ent Obama‘s 7-point tri­umph in 2008, down-bal­lot Demo­crats should have a good night.

Kyle Tryg­stad

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