Snapshots: Clinton not letting up in Pennsylvania
Philadelphia — Hillary Clinton’s campaign is aggressively outworking Donald Trump in battleground Pennsylvania, a state the billionaire businessman can scarcely afford to lose and still hope to become president.
Despite polling well in Pennsylvania throughout the summer, Clinton’s team is nevertheless bearing down in a state her party has carried in six straight elections. They are ratcheting up advertising and dispatching their top supporters to Pennsylvania, from Bill Clinton to Joe Biden to last week’s visit from President Barack Obama.
“We’ve got to fight for this thing,” Obama thundered at a rally in Philadelphia last Tuesday. “I need you to work as hard for Hillary as you did for me. I need you to knock on doors. I need you to make phone calls. You’ve got to talk to your friends, including your Republican friends.”
At a minimum, an energized Pennsylvania campaign is a balm for Clinton as she weathers a dip in national polls and dips in the swing states of Florida and Ohio. But with roughly seven weeks until Election Day, Trump’s scattershot approach to the state also puts his White House prospects in jeopardy.
“There is no Trump turnout organization, and you can’t construct one” in the time remaining, said former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.
For Trump, nearly any route to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House includes Pennsylvania’s 20 votes. With Clinton’s edge in Colorado and Virginia, and her competitive standing in North Carolina, Trump could potentially win vote-rich Florida and Ohio, as well as competitive Iowa and New Hampshire, and still fall short of the White House unless he can capture Pennsylvania, too.
Cuban vote key in Florida
Miami — Francis Suarez comes from a long line of civic and political leaders who have formed the Republican bedrock in south Florida’s Cuban community for a half-century. Yet the 38-year-old Miami city commissioner hasn’t decided whether he will vote for his party’s presidential nominee.
And he’s not alone. Many Cuban-Americans express solidarity with other Latin-Americans who see Donald Trump as anti-Hispanic. Still others hear in Trump’s nationalistic populism echoes of the government strongmen they once fled.
“There are aspects of Trump that appeal to parts of the Cuban-American culture: strong leadership, the ability and willingness to say bold things,” says Suarez, the son of a former Miami mayor and a potential chief executive himself. The concern, Suarez says, comes when Trump’s boorishness, bullying and slapdash policy pronouncements “cross the line from bold to wild, unpredictable.”
How those misgivings influence the votes of hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans could tilt the nation’s most populous presidential battleground state and, depending on circumstances elsewhere, determine whether Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the election.
Fernand Amandi, a Democratic south Florida pollster, estimates the Cuban-American vote could approach 8 percent of the 8 million-plus ballots cast in Florida in November. Amandi said Cuban-Americans are “the only Hispanic group in the country” to support Trump over Clinton in preference polling, but not by a margin victorious Republican nominees have managed.