Focus of US presidential battle shifts to economy

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donal Trump. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donal Trump. Photo / AP

The two major-party presidential candidates are advertising duelling economic speeches this week - both set to be delivered from Detroit - creating the prospect that policy differences will be aired alongside questions about the other's temperament and mental health.

The campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that she will give a "major speech" on Friday, promising "a clear contrast" from Republican Donald Trump and a focus on "building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top". Clinton's speech will serve as a rebuttal to an economic address Trump is scheduled to deliver today to members of the Detroit Economic Club. Aides have said that the speech and other upcoming policy addresses will target average voters rather than thinktank types.

Trump's address today, which comes after it emerged the chairman of the American Nazi Party said he saw positives in a Trump presidency, also presents an opportunity to change the subject from last week, which was dominated by a series of controversies, including the real estate mogul's continued back-and-forth with parents who lost their son in combat and Trump's hesitancy to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in his upcoming primary.

As recently as Sunday, Trump focused more on Clinton's mental health and appearance than on policy. During a rally in Windham, New Hampshire, he called the former Secretary of State unhinged, unstable and unbalanced.

Clinton's advertised economic speech in Detroit comes amid a jobs tour she and her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, launched after the Democratic convention. An aide said Friday's address will build on themes discussed during the tour, including creating jobs and raising wages.

Clinton's past policy speeches have doubled as an opportunity to attack Trump. Those included a California speech advertised as a major foreign policy address in which Clinton described Trump as "temperamentally unfit" to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

Meanwhile, Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party, said a Trump presidency could provide "a real opportunity for people like white nationalists".

BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski posted on the internet on Sunday audio from Suhayda on a radio programme that came out last month.

"Now, if Trump does win, OK, it's going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists, acting intelligently to build upon that, and to go and start - you know how you have the black political caucus and what not in Congress and everything - to start building on something like that," Suhayda said. "It doesn't have to be anti, like the movement's been for decades, so much as it has to be pro-white," he added. "You know what I'm saying? It's kinda hard to go and call us bigots if we don't go around and act like a bigot. That's what the movement should contemplate. All right?"

Kaczynski also reported that in an American Nazi Party report from September, Suhayda argued that Trump's rhetoric revealed the secret popularity of the party's messages.

"We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again, at the RIGHT time," Suhayda wrote, according to BuzzFeed. "Donald Trump's campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that 'our views' are NOT so 'unpopular' as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!"

Earlier this year, Rachel Pendergraft - the national organiser for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan - told the Washington Post that the KKK had begun using Trump's candidacy as a new conversation starter to recruit followers.

- Washington Post

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 27 Feb 2017 10:52:09 Processing Time: 351ms