Clinton, Trump clash over who is best for US minorities

26 Aug, 2016 12:15 pm

RENO – Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of fuelling America’s “radical fringe” with racist rhetoric, even as her Republican rival sought to soften his image with an appeal to minorities.

Clinton needs to retain support from black and Latino voters to win the Nov. 8 election, the same coalition that helped propel Democrat Barack Obama to the White House in 2008. Trump, whose support comes mainly from whites, is unlikely to be victorious unless he can cut into that support.

“Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia,” Clinton said in a scathing speech in Nevada. “He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties.”

“This is a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Trump,” Clinton said, referring to Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation and championed the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution during the Civil War that led to the abolition of slavery in 1865.

Trump, who trails Clinton in national opinion polls, has polled poorly with minorities and has been criticized for his proposals on immigration, which include deporting millions of undocumented foreigners, building a wall along the Mexican border, and suspending Muslim immigration to shore up national security.

He described some Mexican immigrants as “criminals and rapists” in a 2015 speech launching his candidacy and more recently questioned the impartiality of an American-born judge of Mexican heritage.

On Thursday, the New York real estate mogul-turned-politician criticized Clinton before her speech, saying she and her party had let black Americans down with failed economic policies and were falsely labelling Republicans as bigoted.

“When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist,” Trump told a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire. “It’s a tired, disgusted argument and is so totally predictable.”

At a Mississippi rally on Wednesday, Trump called Clinton a “bigot who sees people of colour only as votes, not as human beings.”


He argued on Thursday that Clinton’s opposition to charter schools and vouchers locked minority students in failing jobs, that her tax policies would hurt black-owned businesses and that she would allow immigrants to take jobs from minorities.

Trump said the Clinton attacks were not only an assault on him, but on all his supporters – people, he said, who want strong borders and security.

“To Hillary Clinton, and to her donors and advisers, pushing her to spread smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words … shame on you.”

A Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation poll for the week beginning Aug. 15 found Clinton beating Trump among Hispanic voters by 15 percentage points, and by 57 percentage points among black voters.

Trump has tried recently to broaden his appeal to them, hinting at a softening of his hardline position on immigration.

In comments broadcast on Fox News on Wednesday night, Trump said he would be willing to work with immigrants who have abided by US laws while living in the country, backing away from his insistence during the primaries that he would try to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants.

Trump also met with black and Latino Republican leaders at his headquarters in New York City on Thursday morning.

Trump’s efforts were unlikely to draw out minorities in his favour but could reassure some moderate Republicans worried about his views on race, said Bernard Fraga, a political science professor at Indiana University. “I don’t think these efforts will do a lot to help him in minority communities,” Fraga said. -Reuters

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