Looking past Trump, Clinton aims to help other Democrats

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign rally Sunday at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign rally Sunday at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C.
Published Oct. 24, 2016

Newly confident and buoyant in the polls, Hillary Clinton is looking past Donald Trump while widening her mission to include helping Democrats seize the Senate and chip away at the Republican-controlled House.

Though Trump's campaign insisted Sunday it was premature to count him out, it's Clinton whose path to winning the White House has only grown wider in the race's final weeks. Even longtime Republican strongholds such as Utah and Arizona suddenly appear within her reach Nov. 8, enticing Democrats to campaign hard in territory they haven't won for decades.

The shifting political map has freed Clinton and her well-funded campaign to spend time and money helping other Democrats in competitive races. Clinton said she didn't "even think about responding" to Trump anymore and would instead spend the final weeks on the road "emphasizing the importance of electing Democrats down the ballot."

"We're running a coordinated campaign, working hard with gubernatorial, Senate and House candidates," said Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager.

And for good reason.

After a merciless two-year campaign, the next president will face the daunting task of governing a bitterly divided nation. If Clinton wins, her prospects for achieving her goals will be greatly diminished unless her victory is accompanied by major Democratic gains in Congress.

"We've got to do the hard and maybe most important work of healing, healing our country," Clinton said Sunday at Union Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.

In Florida on Sunday, Trump called for voters to elect a Republican House and Senate that would "swiftly enact" his priorities, which include overhauling taxes, restoring higher spending on defense and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

"We can enact our whole plan in the first 100 days — and we will," Trump said in Naples.

In a rare admission of fallibility by the typically boastful Trump, his campaign acknowledged he's trailing Clinton.

"We are behind. She has some advantages," Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said. Still, she added, "We're not giving up. We know we can win this."

Conway laid out in detail Trump's potential path to winning: victories in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio, to start. If Trump prevents Arizona and Georgia from falling to Democrats and adds in some combination of Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, he could reach the 270 electoral votes needed, Conway said.

It won't be easy. An Associated Press analysis of polling, demographic trends and other campaign data rates Virginia as solidly Democratic, while Colorado, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are all leaning Democratic. Arizona, remarkably, is a toss-up.

Trump endorsement

With polls showing him sliding nationally, Trump received a bit of welcome news in one battleground state on Sunday as the editorial page of Nevada's largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, endorsed him for president. It is the first major newspaper to give Trump its blessing, though it may come with something of an asterisk: The Review-Journal was bought last year by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a Trump supporter and longtime GOP benefactor.

Information from the New York Times was used in this report.