PHILADELPHIA — A day after accepting the Democratic nomination for president, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton began a bus tour Friday of Pennsylvania and Ohio — areas that the campaign of Republican Donald Trump says are on its victory path.
Clinton, a divisive figure in American politics, set out to convince voters that she’s the candidate to unify voters while the brash developer is trying to “pull us apart.”
The Clinton campaign sought to highlight the contrast between the candidates’ acceptance speeches: Clinton told voters that with their help they can “fix it together.” Trump said: “I alone can fix” the nation’s problems.
Clinton has called the election a “moment of reckoning.”
“It is not so much because I’m on the ticket but because of the stark choice posed to America,” she told voters at a packed basketball gym at Temple University.
The message was part of a drumbeat that Democrats are trying to register with the public: Trump isn’t fit to serve.
She said Trump’s “I alone” claim should set off “alarm bells.” With a nod to the city that’s the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution, Clinton said the nation’s founding fathers established a structure that calls for shared governance — not one person ruling “like a king.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Clinton’s running mate, on Friday called Trump’s mind a “very frightening place.”
Along the bus tour, the Clinton campaign plans to highlight plans for keeping jobs in the U.S. — while noting all the products, included branded ties and furniture, that Trump has made overseas. In a sense, Clinton wants to echo a line that mocked Trump’s “America First” talking point and won applause during her nomination acceptance speech the night before.
She touched on it again Friday, saying: “He doesn’t make a thing in America except bankruptcies,” referring to Trump’s several bankruptcy filings.
Clinton had two strategies in the acceptance speech and tour kickoff: to outline her plans and frame a Trump presidency as a scary proposition. She mocked his temperament and asked voters to imagine Trump with the nuclear-weapon deployment codes at his fingertips.
For at least one voter who initially opposed Clinton, it was enough.
The idea of Trump in the White House “really scared” Carolyn McCoy, 61, an English professor at Temple University (the site of Friday’s rally), who had backed Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the Democratic nomination.
McCoy said she was still not a huge Clinton fan but she and other Sanders backers should recall the impact of Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader in 2000, in an election in which Republican George W. Bush narrowly defeated Democrat Al Gore in a court-determined election.
“I’m very concerned. I remember Ralph Nader,” McCoy said. She added: “There are a lot of young Bernie Sanders supporters who really need the time to grieve the loss of someone who spoke to their concerns.”
Alyse Stiles-Gick, 51, a retired schoolteacher, said she felt “secure” when Clinton spoke the night before.
“Trump is too impulsive. That is not the type of guy you want pushing the button,” Stiles-Gick said.
Wendell Royster, a health-care union official who liked Clinton’s promises on health insurance and immigration reform, said Sanders backers have to understand the “choice.”
Said Royster: “Who are they helping if they sit out? Donald Trump.”