POLITICS

In battleground states, Clinton paints bleak picture of life under Trump presidency

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made a concerted push to Latinos in western battlegrounds states – painting a grim view of life for the demographic if Republican nominee Donald Trump wins the White House next week.

In Arizona – a Republican-leaning state the Clinton campaign has been eyeing  for weeks – the former secretary of state's team believes it's winnable this year given Trump's unpopularity with Hispanics. The state has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate only once since 1952 — Bill Clinton in his 1996 re-election campaign.

Clinton also waded into a local sheriff's race getting national attention, backing Democrat Paul Penzone in the race for Maricopa County sheriff, a post held by immigration hardliner Joe Arpaio.

"I think it's time you had a new sheriff in town, don't you?" she said.

And in a nod to Republicans, she called out Trump for his criticism in the GOP primary of Carly Fiorina, the only woman to seek her party's nomination. Clinton called Fiorina "a distinguished woman with a tremendous record of accomplishment."

Clinton arrived in Arizona following a rally in Las Vegas, where she urged voters to imagine what life would be like if Trump is inaugurated on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January. For Hispanics, she said, that would mean having a president "who doesn't see you as Americans." And for blacks, she said it would mean having a president who believes their lives are consumed by "crime and poverty and despair."

For Clinton, the final full week of the presidential campaign has turned into a greatest hits list of her most searing attacks on Trump and the Republican's most glaring missteps. On Tuesday, she campaigned in Florida with Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe winner whom Trump criticized for gaining weight, and slammed Trump repeatedly for his demeaning comments about women.

In Las Vegas Wednesday, Clinton took aim at Trump's feud with an American-born judge of Mexican heritage who ruled against the businessman in an ongoing legal matter. Trump said earlier this year that Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican roots meant he had a conflict of interest in the case given Trump's proposal to build a wall along the U.S. Southern border.

Clinton said Curiel "is as American as Donald Trump."

Clinton's efforts to sharpen the contrast with Trump has left her campaign shrouded in a dark, negative tone as she closes out her White House bid. It's a conscious choice her campaign says is necessary as polls tighten ahead of next Tuesday's election.

"The fact is the choice that Donald Trump represents is pretty dark," Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters traveling with Clinton to Nevada Wednesday. "You need to make it real for voters who are undecided."

Clinton's camp says it saw polls tightening even before the FBI announced Friday that it was reviewing new material that could be related to a dormant investigation into the former secretary of state's handling of classified information. While Clinton says the FBI has "no case," the review has set Democrats on edge, worried that it could turn off late-deciding voters.

Despite Clinton's focus on the western battleground states, Florida remains perhaps the nation's most critical swing state as the final-days scramble for votes intensifies.

The Trump campaign knows there is no realistic path to the White House without Florida, where polls give Clinton a narrow lead. The New York businessman campaigned in three Florida cities Wednesday — Miami, Orlando and Pensacola — and will follow up with a stop in Jacksonville on Thursday.

"We don't want to blow this," he told rowdy supporters in Miami. "We gotta win. We gotta win big."

While Trump has devoted perhaps his most valuable resource — his time — to Florida, Clinton has built a powerful ground game, backed by a dominant media presence, that dwarfs her opponent's. The Democratic nominee has more than doubled Trump's investment in Florida television ads. Overall, the state has been deluged with $125 million in general election advertising — by far the most of any state.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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