As Trump struggles, Clinton goes on offense to win over Republicans

Published 10:18 am Friday, August 12, 2016

WASHINGTON— Hillary Clinton is seizing opportunities presented by a volatile presidential race to expand her base of support heading into the fall, seeking to position the Democratic Party for a sweeping victory in November.

As Donald Trump struggles through a second week of self-inflicted stumbles, the Democratic nominee’s campaign has started to push into Republican territory by courting some of the party’s core supporters and expanding her campaign’s operations into traditionally red states.

“The map favors us and, in a way, the dynamics right now favor us,” said Joel Benenson, Clinton’s senior strategist. “The more places you can make them play defense, the better off we are.”

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Throughout his presidential bid, the Republican nominee has used controversy to draw attention back to his campaign. It’s a strategy that initially worried some Clinton aides, who feared he would drown out their candidate’s general-election message.

But with three months to Election Day, Clinton aides say they see more advantages than liabilities as Trump continues to say the politically unimaginable. Critics slammed Trump this week for appearing to suggest that gun-rights supporters could shoot Clinton to prevent her from appointing federal judges as president, and he drew criticism for standing by a false claim that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State.

On Thursday, Trump said he would respond to his admitted problems in his campaign by doing “the same thing I’m doing right now.”