Hillary Clinton’s campaign has pointed out that Donald Trump has been decried by prominent Republican leaders, respected military brass, and economists from across the political spectrum.
But on Thursday, the Clinton campaign released a new attack ad that instead went after Trump for a rare group that has endorsed him: white supremacists.
There's a reason the most hateful fringe of the right wing is supporting Donald Trump.https://t.co/AqB3DM2m0N— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 25, 2016
A few of the new video’s most striking quotes:
- "The reasons a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in," one anonymous Ku Klux Klan member says.
- "Donald Trump would be best for the job," says one "imperial wizard" of the Knights of the KKK.
- "Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage," KKK leader David Duke says.
The video dovetails with a major speech Clinton is scheduled to give on Thursday about the "alt-right." The Clinton campaign plans to argue that it’s no coincidence these racist hate groups have flocked to Trump’s banner — that white supremacists are backing Trump because they’ve correctly identified what his vision represents.
"Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we ought to believe him. He is taking a hate movement mainstream," Clinton said on CNN last night in a preview of those remarks. "He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country."
Most Americans agree that racism against black people is a big problem
The video underscores the Clinton team’s broader push to connect Trump, and the Republican Party he leads, to extremist and fringe "white rights" movements that think black people have been unfairly given a leg up in Barack Obama’s America.
As Vox’s Matt Yglesias has pointed out, this was not a strategy any of Trump’s Republican rivals tried using against him in the primary. Strategically, their decision made a good deal of sense: Most Republican voters think discrimination against whites is a bigger problem than discrimination against black Americans.
The good news for Clinton is that most people don’t agree with that sentiment. Instead, polling suggests that a healthy majority of Americans think the more serious issue is discrimination against black people (they’re right):
Trump was able to win the Republican nomination in part by exploiting conservative voters’ fears around racial animus. Clinton’s gamble is to turn what was a strength during the primary into a key vulnerability for a general election. Polling around racial attitudes — to say nothing of the reality of life in America — seems to suggest it’s a good one.