Election 2016

Last-ditch plans

The Trump campaign is turning to voter suppression in hopes of a Brexit-like upset

Trump’s last-ditch plan to win the election through voter suppression

 

With less than two weeks to go until Election Day, all signs point to a big-league defeat for Donald Trump. Nearly every poll and reliable piece of data shows Hillary Clinton beating the Republican nominee by a healthy margin. In public, Trump keeps putting on a brave face, but in private his campaign is putting together a three-pronged voter suppression effort to keep turnout as low as possible.

“We have three major voter-suppression operations under way,” an unnamed Trump campaign strategist told Bloomberg Businessweek. Here are the Trump team’s three main goals for dissuading key voter groups on November 8:

  • Keep Bernie Sanders voters home, or voting independent. Trump’s relentless attacks on Clinton’s previous support of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Clinton Foundation’s dealings with despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia, and the email scandal are designed to deflate Bernie Sanders supporters who are still wary of the Democratic nominee.
  • Tap women’s feelings about Bill Clinton. Remember when Trump brought Bill Clinton’s sexual assault accusers to the second debate last month? That was a bid to remind women what they didn’t like about Bill, despite scant evidence that young women know or care who Juanita Broadrick is.
  • Suppress the minority vote. Digital strategists told Bloomberg they are targeting the Facebook pages of African-Americans with ads featuring Clinton’s infamous 1996 “superpredator” remark, as well as her support of “three strikes” and the now infamous crime bill. They are also playing similar ads on African-American radio stations in swing states to discourage voters.

Trump’s campaign is also relying on a wave of silent Trump voters to turn up on November 8. Campaign strategists told Bloomberg that they are focusing their efforts on turning out 13.5 million undecided voters in states starting with Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Of course this is hard to do when your campaign has a tenuous relationship with the Republican Party. Which is why the Trump team is intent on making sure people don’t vote for Clinton, rather than vote for him.

It’s not unusual for campaigns in both parties to try to dissuade their opponent’s supporters from voting. But usually at this point in the final days of an election, campaigns are focused on making sure their own supporters actually vote, rather than trying to sway new voters or prevent voting altogether.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @oliviaLbecker

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