Dems fret over Trump bounce

PHILADELPHIA — Democrats are alarmed over a cluster of new polls showing Donald Trump enjoying a healthy bounce in support after the Republican National Convention.

Worried Democrats say they thought some of the “dark” themes that Trump and his allies raised in Cleveland wouldn’t gain traction in modern-day America.

{mosads}Yet a flurry of polls have suggested that the GOP presidential nominee is ahead or in a dead heat with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Some Democrats can’t believe they are in a close race.

“It shouldn’t be this close. I don’t think there’s any question that the closeness of this race is cause for everybody to concern himself and recommit themselves to this campaign,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said Monday afternoon.

A new CNN/ORC poll shows Trump benefiting from a 10-point jump in support, putting him 3 points ahead of Clinton, 48 percent to 45 percent. A CNN/ORC poll from mid-July showed Clinton with a 7-point lead.

A new CBS News survey shows Trump leading 44 percent to 43 percent, and a Los Angeles Times/USC poll shows him with a 4-point lead.

The latest round of polls follows a survey released by Quinnipiac University earlier this month showing Trump up by 3 points in Florida and 2 points in Pennsylvania, two states that President Obama carried in 2008 and 2012.

Senate Democrats expressed their concerns over polling data during a meeting with Clinton at the Capitol earlier this month, where some lawmakers “freaked out,” according to a Democratic senator who attended.

What’s rattling Democrats this week is evidence that voters are responding to what Clinton last week called “a dark picture of an America in decline” painted by Trump.

“A large number of us this morning were talking about things we thought were long gone out of the hearts for Americans,” Cleaver said.

Criticizing Clinton was a central theme of the GOP convention last week, which focused on her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, her evolving positions on various issues and her use of a private email server as secretary of State.

Republicans in Cleveland poured their invective on Clinton throughout the week, frequently chanting, “Lock her up!” One GOP delegate went so far as to say Clinton should be “shot for treason” because of Benghazi — though party leaders immediately disavowed him.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said he was not surprised to see Trump’s public support jump after the convention. He warned that Democrats can’t take anything for granted.

“It doesn’t surprise me. I think people get bumps after conventions,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a close race. That’s why I think every vote is really important.”

Engel said the GOP convention wasn’t as negative as some fellow Democrats portrayed it to be.

“I don’t think it was doom and gloom. I think they were pretty good in keeping their people in check,” he said.

But Engel predicted that Clinton will get her own bump from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and expressed relief that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had decided to endorse Clinton.

A Democratic strategist and fundraiser who requested anonymity said if the polls are the same after the convention, there will be more to worry about.

“Ask me to take a look at the polls a week into August. Then we’ll take a harder look. Everyone knew from day one this was going to be a tough race, so no one is hitting the panic button yet,” he said.

But some Democrats are worried that Sanders’s endorsement won’t sway his angry supporters, who are outraged over leaked emails showing that Democratic National Committee (DNC) staff were biased in favor of Clinton during the primary race.

Sanders’s supporters booed Monday when he asked them in a private meeting to back Clinton. They also protested the Florida delegation breakfast at the downtown Marriott hotel to shout down outgoing DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“They don’t seem to respond to him anymore,” Cleaver observed.

Trump has tried to woo disaffected working-class voters who backed Sanders to jump to his campaign, using Wasserman Schultz as a wedge.

“I’ve seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders,” Trump said during his Thursday acceptance speech, a comment that seemed prescient coming a day before the DNC email scandal exploded in the press Friday. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
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