A recurring theme in her speech today against the alt-right movement was her repeated refusal to blame the entire Republican Party for Trump’s rise. Contrasting his rhetoric with past statements of tolerance from Republican leaders such as Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain, she declared that “a fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party.”
“No one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here,” she said. “The names may have changed: Racists now call themselves ‘racialists’; white supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists’; the paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright. And now Trump is trying to rebrand himself, as well. But don’t be fooled.”
Clinton: “The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right,’ but the hate burns just as bright.” https://t.co/bOSTSfEt34
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 25, 2016
Clinton is thus presenting herself as a figure of unity in a troubled time, and against an imminent threat—the kind of language one would use to attract the kind of white, Republican-leaning swing voters who would not want to be associated with the racism and misogyny of Trump’s base.
But could this potentially let down-ticket Republicans off the hook, and free up swing voters to cast split tickets—leaving her with a hostile Congress? Or could it be the best of both worlds: Stigmatize the down-ticket Republicans in their individual races and depress Republican turnout, giving her the Congress she would need to govern effectively?