Clinton campaign warns of complacency

Clinton campaign warns of complacency
© Getty Images

As she heads toward the fall with a solid lead in the polls, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE and her team are warning donors and Democrats not to be complacent in the final stretch of the presidential campaign.

While the post-convention weeks in August have been a high point for Clinton and a disastrous period for her Republican challenger Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE, there is still time for the political climate to change before Election Day. 


Clinton aides and allies note the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, in which the U.K. voted to remove itself from the European Union, as an example of how electoral surprises can happen. Trump himself predicted this week that he would be “Mr. Brexit” this fall. 

Trump has tried to turn things around this week with a campaign shake up, bringing in a new CEO and campaign manager who are seeking to reshape the narrative of the campaign and force Team Clinton to go on defense.  

On Thursday, Trump also offered a conciliatory speech in which he expressed regret for remarks that caused “personal pain.” 

Seeing Trump’s pivot, the Clinton campaign is urging their supporters and fundraisers to step up and not take their lead for granted. 

“At this point complacency is the number one thing the campaign is watching for,” said one former Clinton aide. 

In a fundraising email to supporters on Friday, campaign manager Robby Mook pleaded for help in the wake of the Trump campaign shakeup and the GOP nominee’s first general election ad buy. 

The Trump campaign’s attacks “are going to get more and more frequent,” Mook warned before asking for $100 contributions. 

The ask is important coming in a context where polls have shown Clinton with a national lead over Trump, as well as significant leads in such battleground states as Virginia and Colorado.

Clinton’s campaign does not want donors to stop giving money and to instead throw all of their support to other Democratic candidates in the Senate and House. 

In another sign that the Clinton campaign is ready for a pitched fight this fall, the Clinton Foundation announced on Thursday that it would not take foreign or corporate donations should Clinton win in November. The campaign also sought to go on the offensive with the announcement that former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonOvernight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' Biden rolls dice by getting more aggressive on vaccines Amanda Knox blasts 'Stillwater' movie: 'Does my name belong to me? MORE would resign from the foundation’s board should his wife be elected president. 

“They’re trying to salt the mine,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said of the campaign’s strategy to get out in front of potential attacks in the lead up to the general election. “They're anticipating real attacks and laying the ground work now.”

Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons acknowledged a nervousness about complacency behind the scenes. 

“People have been talking about it offline for sure,” he said. “It’s nice to have a good lead, you want good numbers but you want supporters to be just a little nervous that it could all go sideways.” 

The former Hillary Clinton aide offered a blunter assessment. 

“Fundamentally so many Democrats as well as independents and Republicans who support [Clinton] think there’s no way Trump can win, but it’s one of those things that’s easy to say,” the aide said. “But it’s not over until November.” 

Trump’s campaign and congressional Republicans are aiming to remind voters about everything they dislike about Clinton with a paid media blitz aimed at minimizing the stream of ongoing defectors. 

House Republicans are keying in on an investigation into whether Clinton committed perjury in her testimony to the House Benghazi Committee. Even if that effort doesn’t lead to charges, it could help seed doubts about Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness, which polls suggest is a vulnerability. 

Clinton’s campaign has long seen turnout as a key to the election, and Simmons said Democrats must do everything they can to drive people to the polls. 

“They’ll have to make sure they’re energizing the surge voters who only vote in presidential elections and inspire those people to come out,” he said. 

As part of that effort, Clinton and her allies will continue in their aim to make the race a referendum on Trump. 

“From a messaging point of view, they have to not let up on Trump,” Bannon said. “This is a referendum on a Donald Trump presidency, so they need to keep the pressure on Trump.” 

Bannon and other people in Clinton’s orbit are expressing confidence about where the race stands but are wary of surprises in September or October.

“American politics is freaky and can turn on a dime and in the other direction in one news cycle,” Bannon said.

“I think she’s going to win,” he said. “But I would be worried about everything every minute of the day.”