First Clinton-Trump Debate Is Framed by Rifts Over Race and Gender
By PATRICK HEALY and ALEXANDER BURNS SEPT. 25, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump are spoiling for an extraordinary clash over race and gender that could come as early as Monday’s debate, with both presidential candidates increasingly staking their fortunes on the cultural issues that are convulsing the nation. …
In a campaign that has veered from traditional policy arguments toward a battle over national identity and values, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump are more sharply opposed over racial and gender issues than any two presidential opponents in decades. Rather than play it safe with milquetoast positions, Mrs. Clinton wants to increase turnout among African-Americans and women by tackling issues of bias and respect. Mr. Trump is positioning himself at the vanguard of white men. …
“Race and gender are often ignored, often belittled with ridiculous sound bites,” said Donna Brazile, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “Having the two of them debate race and gender issues would show more clearly than anything else that one candidate has a record and vision to bring people together, and one has offered the most divisive, bigoted and sexist comments and policies we’ve seen from a major party nominee.”
Yet Republicans see electoral advantages for Mr. Trump. He won the nomination largely by appealing to the resentments of whites, especially working-class voters who say they are tired of debating racism and appreciate Mr. Trump’s message of law and order. He is also emphasizing security at a time of unpredictable violence in American cities, such as Friday’s fatal shooting of five people at a mall near Seattle.
Hillary’s got to be figuring the Law of Averages has to finally be on her side with the next bad guy after such a long run of bad luck. Maybe the U. of Illinois party shooter will turn out to be a Young Republican … Is that too much to hope for? I mean, really, God, whose side are you on? Every time you turn on the news, some new atrocity is being committed by Muslims or blacks or immigrants, or even by a stabby Muslim black immigrant like that guy in St. Cloud, MN. I mean, what are the odds?
Where’s another Dylann Roof when you need him? (Maybe somebody in South Carolina prison administration who could really use a Presidential pardon or two by January 19, 2017 could, say, spring Roof from prison, hand him a loaded assault rifle, and point him toward, you know, the Elderly Black Peoples Gospel Festival. Or something? Hillary’s just asking. For a friend.)
… Mrs. Clinton, who holds a slim lead in national poll averages, has responded to the violence of the last week by casting herself again as a champion of diversity and inclusion. She spoke out quickly after the fatal police shooting of a black man in Tulsa, Okla., to denounce “systemic racism” against blacks. And after the recent bombings in New York and New Jersey, she rushed to make the case that Mr. Trump had endangered the country with his oratorical attacks on Muslims. …
Obviously, if we don’t let in millions more immigrants from the hotheaded parts of the world, then the Muslims who are already here will get really mad and kill us all. Why is Trump too stupid to understand simple logic like that?
Mr. Trump has hardened his own arguments recently, and dialed up his warnings against excessive social tolerance. He speculated last week that political correctness might have held back authorities from stopping the attacks in New York and New Jersey, and he asserted that admitting more refugees from Syria would harm the American “quality of life.”
After the police shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, Mr. Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, complained that there was “too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism in law enforcement.”
Mr. Pence and several Republican lawmakers have drawn criticism for such remarks on race, including a congressman from North Carolina, Robert Pittenger, who said that protesters in Charlotte “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.” Mr. Pittenger later apologized. …
And what about that Republican Congressman, Steve King, who claimed that white people had contributed more to civilization? That was really ignorant! Hasn’t he ever looked up “American inventors” on Google?
Mr. Trump also boasted of having employed women in influential jobs. But he risked alienating some women voters over the weekend by threatening to provide a front-row seat at the debate to Ms. Flowers as retaliation to remarks by Mark Cuban, the billionaire who has been a vocal Trump critic.