Dems fear Hillary's attempted wedge between Trump and GOP voters could hurt down-ballot

“You have Republicans up for re-election trying to run away from Trump as much as they can, so I think the smart move would be to lash them together to the extent possible to drag all of them down,” says Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. “The goal is to make the Republican Party as toxic as possible, to make it one big dumpster fire that they can’t run away from.”

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Democrats have differing opinions on whether separating Trump from his party provides a lifeline to at-risk Republican candidates or places additional pressure on them to disavow his rhetoric.

Some say the strategy isn’t mutually exclusive. The Clinton message “is not so much saying Trump is an outlier amongst GOP candidates, but is an outlier amongst GOP voters,” says Mo Elleithee, a Democratic strategist and executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. “And any candidate that has endorsed him, they are more a Trump Republican than a mainstream Republican.”

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