Looking to Build Base, Democrats Court Those Aggrieved by Donald Trump

The Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem preceded the roll call vote in Philadelphia on Tuesday. (Photo credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

By Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times

One after another, they have streamed across the stage of the Democratic National Convention, sharing their stories of being insulted, cheated or otherwise wronged by Donald J. Trump:

The widow of an Army sergeant, who said she used $35,000 of her military death benefits to pay for a worthless degree from Trump University. A woman with cerebral palsy who condemned Mr. Trump as someone “with hate in his heart.”

And a Mexican-American actress, Eva Longoria, who was indignant in defending her heritage. “My father isn’t a criminal or a rapist,” she said. “In fact, he’s a veteran.”

Hillary Clinton’s convention has been full of soaring tributes to her character and compassion. But perhaps the most important message she and her campaign are trying to deliver this week is a scorching indictment of her Republican opponent as someone who has spared almost no group from insult or injury, be they veterans’ widows, American Indians, immigrants, Muslims, the disabled or women.

Given Mrs. Clinton’s own weaknesses with many white voters — especially men and those without college degrees — and a trust deficit she must overcome with a majority of Americans, this is what Democratic coalition building looks like in the era of Mr. Trump.

If his support base is voters unsettled by changes that have reshaped the country, a key part of Mrs. Clinton’s is those unsettled by Mr. Trump.

The hope, as shown here in Philadelphia in video testimonials, character witnesses and footage of Mr. Trump’s own words, is to sow doubts not only about his character, but also about whether he genuinely cares about the working-class people to whom he has so much appeal.

“You just saw what happened to me,” the military widow, Cheryl Lankford, said in prime time Monday night, “how Trump University cheated me out of the money I received after my husband’s death.”

The Democratic Party, which painted the 2012 Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, as indifferent to the concerns of ordinary Americans, is now trying to do the same with Mr. Trump. “One of the central questions in the election will be, ‘Who do voters trust more to be on their side?’” said Geoff Garin, a pollster and strategist for the pro-Clinton “super PAC” Priorities USA Action. “And one of the things that’s being developed in the convention is Trump’s long history of cheating people to enrich himself.”

Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/us/politics/democrat-voters-donald-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

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