Strategist: Trump will help Hillary in the fall
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton could win several states that have eluded Democrats in the recent past because Republican candidate Donald Trump turns off so many voters, says Joel Benenson, Clinton's chief strategist.
Trump, a real-estate developer from New York and the Republican front-runner, will have many weaknesses in the general election if he is the GOP nominee as expected, Benenson said. "He puts more red (Republican) to purple (swing) states in play for us," the Clinton strategist told The Washington Post in a rare interview.
"There are states that Democrats have been within striking distance of in presidential elections. We won North Carolina one of the last six times. That's a state that Trump will have a hard time holding. Obama lost Georgia by seven points in 2008. With its changing demographics--its young people and increasing minority population--that state becomes very problematic for them."
"I don't think there's a single battleground state that he makes more competitive," Benenson added. "Those states hinge on swing voters who are economically more aligned with where the Democratic party is economically and socially."
Benenson also said, "For moderate Republicans, there does not appear to be a place in their party any more. They do not have a candidate at the top of their field right now who is appealing to moderates in their party. Those are blue collar whites. They are not monolithic. Blue collar, working-class Americans happen to be Democrats, Republicans and independents. We actually have messages and candidates that appeal to those voters more. They are not trickle-down, radical economic voters. They are more middle of the road, mainstream voters."
As for Clinton's race for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Benenson said the contest is basically over. "Hillary Clinton has a delegate lead that puts the race effectively out of reach for Senator Sanders," the Clinton strategist said.
On Tuesday, Clinton won presidential primaries in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio, with Missouri still too close to call. She leads Sanders in nominating delegates, 1,572 to 813, according to an ABC News estimate. A candidate needs 2,383 to be nominated, so Clinton has more than half the delegates that she needs to win a majority.