With early voting under way, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are sharpening their message in this critical phase of the campaign.
Clinton is following the same strategy that got her this far, sticking to her message of hope and unity. Trump, on the other hand, relies on the power of fear to galvanize his supporters. But he has added a new strategy to attract early voters: throw decency out the window and insult his opponent all the way to the White House.
Speaking at a rally in Manheim, Pa. Saturday, Trump unleashed a tirade of fearmongering and unfounded accusations against his opponent before physically mocking her for feeling ill at a 9/11 memorial.
Arriving nearly two hours late, and a day after vowing he would be “nastier” than his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump insinuated that she was unfaithful to her husband and “could be crazy.” He also reprised a call to jail her — “she should be in prison” — which was followed by a chorus of chants to “lock her up.”
Trump then questioned Hillary Clinton’s “stamina” and mocked her, pretending to stumble like she did while leaving a 9/11 anniversary ceremony last month.
The mockery and dark tones came just as a New York Times report was published showing that Trump, who has made his business acumen a cornerstone of his campaign, actually lost nearly $1 billion in failed businesses in a single year. The loss may have allowed him under the law to avoid paying federal income taxes for 18 years following the 1995 filing, the Times reported.
Clinton’s campaign team have not responded to Trump’s latest attack on her health, but the former secretary of state hit back on her Republican rival’s claims that she lacked stamina during the debate.
“As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee he can talk to me about stamina,” Clinton said.
Trump supporters, recent polling has shown, are disproportionately fearful. They fear crime and terrorism far more than other Americans; they are also disproportionately wary of foreign influence and social change. Polls also show that Trump supporters are overwhelmingly uneducated.