Trump’s campaign has insisted it would transform Rust Belt states from Democratic strongholds to Republican turf — and he has made strides toward that goal by rallying white working-class voters in Ohio and Iowa, among others, to his candidacy. But Trump has also struggled to win over the white college-educated voters who have formed the GOP’s reliable base in past elections; meanwhile, his harsh rhetoric on immigration has alienated Hispanic voters and put in play Arizona and Georgia, where Mitt Romney won in 2012.
In a nod to a few red states in which Democrats think they are competitive this year (or aim to drive down voting for Trump), Clinton is expected to headline an event in Phoenix on Wednesday, followed by Kaine on Thursday. Her running mate is expected to give a rare stump speech entirely in Spanish while in Phoenix. In Tucson, the Virginia senator will urge voters to back the Democratic ticket during the final day of in-person early voting in the state. Arizona, which has not backed a Democrat since Bill Clinton won there in 1996, appears statistically tied at the moment between Clinton and Trump in four-way polling that includes third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
Still, Clinton and top Democratic surrogates, including President Obama, are maintaining a focus on the key battlegrounds, sprinting in a frenetic loop through Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina during the final week of the campaign.
Clinton’s team has ample funding to zoom in and out of key states, run ads and follow a clear playbook aimed at capturing 270 electoral votes on Nov. 8. The strategy: first, encourage early voting and gin up enthusiasm for Clinton; second, work to refashion the winning Obama coalition consisting of minorities, women and young people; and, third, discourage fence-sitting voters from siding with Trump.