Hillary Clinton Takes Aim at Voters Drifting Toward Third Party

Screen Shot 2016-09-16 at 10.05.17 AMJONATHAN MARTIN


Friday, September 16, 2016

Good Friday morning.
Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies, unnerved by the tightening presidential race, are making a major push to dissuade disaffected voters from backing third-party candidates, and pouring more energy into Rust Belt states, where Donald J. Trump is gaining ground.
With Mrs. Clinton enduring one of the rockiest stretches of her second bid for the presidency, her campaign and affiliated Democratic groups are shifting their focus to those voters, many of them millennials, who recoil at Mr. Trump, her Republican opponent, but who now favor the Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson, or the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein.
While still optimistic that the race will turn decisively back in Mrs. Clinton’s favor after the debates, leading Democrats have been alarmed by the drift of young voters toward the third-party candidates.
The principal “super PAC” supporting Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, Priorities USA Action, has concluded from its polling and other research that the reluctance to embrace the Democratic nominee among those who intensely dislike Mr. Trump is not going away and must be confronted.
“We’ll be launching a multimillion-dollar digital campaign that talks about what’s at stake and how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump, who is against everything these voters stand for,” said Justin Barasky, a strategist for Priorities USA.
Mrs. Clinton may also get an assist from one Democrat who has been largely quiet about the race but can testify to the importance of resisting the third-party temptation: former Vice President Al Gore. Her staff has had conversations with aides to Mr. Gore about bringing him onto the campaign trail to emphasize the importance of supporting Mrs. Clinton if they want to make progress on combating climate change.
“I can assure you from personal experience that every vote counts,” Mr. Gore wrote in an email to The New York Times on Thursday, after a new CBS/New York Times poll showed Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump virtually tied. “The stakes are high for so many Americans. So I will vote for Hillary Clinton and I strongly encourage others to vote for her as well.”
Hillary Clinton at a rally in Tampa, Fla., early this month, and Donald J. Trump at a campaign event in Clive, Iowa, on Tuesday.

Left, Doug Mills/The New York Times; Damon Winter/ The New York Times

Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump are locked in a close race, with voters saying he lacks the right temperament but would bring real change to Washington, a New York Times/CBS News poll showed.


The common thread is a closer race, but there are various ways of interpreting all the signs.

Donald J. Trump in New York Thursday. He made remarks about Mr. Obama to The Washington Post.

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Mr. Trump continued to sow doubts about the citizenship of the first black president even as his campaign is trying to reach out to minorities.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mrs. Clinton appeared in Greensboro, N.C., three days after she nearly collapsed at a World Trade Center memorial service.

On the Trail

Mrs. Clinton speaks at the annual symposium of the Black Women’s Agenda in Washington.
Michelle Obama hosts a rally for Mrs. Clinton in Fairfax, Va. Mrs. Clinton is not scheduled to appear.
Mr. Trump hosts an event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, before attending a rally in Miami.
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Donald J. Trump addressed the Economic Club of New York at the Waldorf Astoria on Thursday.

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Donald J. Trump at a campaign event in Canton, Ohio, on Wednesday.

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What We’re Reading Elsewhere

“Everything has gone Trump’s way — and he’s still not ahead,” Politico writes in its list of five reasons Mr. Trump might lose the election.
However, if the presidential race tightens significantly by Nov. 8, FiveThirtyEight writes, “there is an unusually high chance Donald Trump could win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote – basically Democrats’ version of the apocalypse.”
To win more support among millennials, Mrs. Clinton is sending Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on a college tour through Ohio this weekend, The Atlantic writes.