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Fri, 13 Dec 2019 00:13 GMT

2020 Democrats Weigh How Tough to Hit Trump on Racism

Politics

7Dnews London

Wed, 14 Aug 2019 10:57 GMT

As Democrats compete for the chance to take on President Trump in 2020, some say the president is a white supremacist. But Hillary Clinton's experience in the 2016 presidential elections poses difficult questions for the White House hopefuls. Pointing out then-candidate Trump's racist actions was not enough to defeat him in 2016 and may not help Democrats next year.

"Hillary Clinton took every sling and arrow imaginable when she called out Trump on his courtship of white supremacy in the 2016 race," said Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who worked on Clinton's campaign. "When our campaign named and shamed Trump's behaviour, we were accused of playing the race card. Her predictions may have actually understated how much of an existential crisis the Trump presidency would be for minorities in America."

The issue has taken on greater urgency this month following a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that is believed to be motivated by racism. The shooting suspect echoed Trump's warnings of a Latino "invasion".

Trump insists he is not a racist and throws the label back at Democrats, accusing them of political correctness and recklessly wielding the term.

There is near unanimity among Democrats that candidates cannot ignore Trump's racist actions. But there is debate over how far to go and whether to focus on more traditional issues like health care, prescription drugs, infrastructure and education.

Candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg have agreed that the white supremacist label is appropriate for Trump. Joe Biden accused Trump of "fanning the flames of white supremacy".

But some Democratic voters questioned whether such labelling might prove counterproductive. After all, Trump supporters wore Clinton's denunciation of them as "deplorables" as a badge of honour.

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