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With a little more than a week until Election Day, Hillary Clinton attacked what she called Donald Trump’s strategy to keep groups of people away from the polls come Nov. 8.
"Donald Trump's strategy is real simple," Clinton told a crowd Oct. 29 in Daytona Beach, Fla. "They have even said in his campaign it's to get women to stay home, get young people to stay home, get people of color to stay home, and get a lot of smart, intelligent men to stay home, too."
Has Trump’s campaign really said that?
It turns out Clinton is referring to news articles that quote anonymous Trump advisers who say the campaign's strategy is to keep Clinton supporters home on Election Day by ratcheting up her negatives.
Suppression? More like voter depression
Clinton’s campaign pointed to news reports that quote anonymous Trump officials.
The first example is a Bloomberg Businessweek article from Oct. 27 that takes readers behind the scenes of Trump’s marketing operations. The article quotes a senior Trump campaign official saying that the campaign has "three major voter suppression operations under way."
The article doesn’t offer any more details about the source other than the fact the person was a "senior official."
According to the Bloomberg story, the suppression operations are targeting white liberals, young women and African Americans through radio spots, social media and targeting specific neighborhoods.
What specifically is Trump telling those groups?
Clinton’s 1996 remark where she suggests some African-American males are "super predators" is being used in social media posts aimed at discouraging African-Americans from voting. The group of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and degraded by Hillary Clinton are meant to dismantle young women’s positive views of Clinton and so on.
This isn’t the only article that quotes an unidentified Trump adviser making a similar claim.
Trump’s "advisers" told the Wall Street Journal the campaign is trying to "depress Democratic voter turnout."
After news broke of Trump’s 2005 lewd comments about sexual assault and women, the Trump campaign implemented a "scorched earth strategy" to keep voters home on Nov. 8, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Just like what was reported in the Bloomberg article, Trump advisers told the Wall Street Journal that Trump was looking to use the attacks over Clinton’s email server and allegations about her husband to keep Clinton supporters home on election day.
There’s also a Yahoo News article with a similar story from another unidentified source.
There are caveats that come with Clinton’s claim.
First, we can’t independently verify if Trump officials said these things. Trump, himself, has said not to trust articles that don’t name specific sources.
Also, publicly, Trump has gone to great lengths to court women and African-American voters. He has called for six weeks of mandatory paid maternity leave and tax credits for child care. And he has tried to attract African-Americans by touting his business plan, saying the Clinton and Democrats have failed.
"What the hell do you have to lose?" said Trump, asking for black voters' support.
Further, experts say what the media reports are describing are not all that shocking or atypical. In some ways, Clinton is describing modern-day politics warts and all.
Tobe Berkovitz, an associate professor of advertising at Boston University, who has worked as a political media consultant for presidential campaigns, said it’s likely that Trump’s campaign is trying to curb Clinton voters with negative campaigning.
He said this is not unusual because modern politics based in negativity is an inherent part of campaigns, adding that negative campaigning "discourages the hell out of all voters."
If you look at Trump’s strategy as negative campaigning, then it seems that Trump is not trying to suppress voters, but depress them.
Clinton said, "Donald Trump's strategy is pretty simple. They have even said in his campaign it's to get women to stay home, get young people to stay home, get people of color to stay home, and get a lot get a lot of smart, intelligent men to stay home, too."
That’s leaving a lot of details out.
Trump never literally told women, young people, people of color and "intelligent men," to stay home on Nov. 8. Clinton’s remark refers to news articles that quote anonymous sources from the campaign saying the strategy is to reduce turnout for Clinton by targeting specific groups of people, including young people, women and people of color.
Yet Trump himself has tried to woo women and African-Americans on the campaign trail and said anonymous-sourced stories from his campaign should not be trusted.
Lastly, experts say what Clinton is describing is a fairly typical type of negative campaigning.
Clinton’s statement is partially accurate. We rate it Half True.
Email interview, Hillary Clinton campaign spokesperson Josh Schwerin, Oct. 31.
Hillary Clinton speeches, "Hillary Clinton Attends Daytona Beach Canvass Kick-Off," Oct. 29
Bloomberg Businessweek, "Inside the Trump Bunker, With Days to Go," Oct. 27.
Wall Street Journal, "Donald Trump’s New Attack Strategy: Curb Clinton Vote," Oct. 11.
Yahoo News! "Donald Trump’s art of war: His campaign’s plan for dropping political ‘thermo nukes’ and suppressing votes," Oct. 14
Interview, Tobe Berkovitz, chairman of Boston University's Department of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, Oct. 31
Email interview, Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory College, Oct. 31
The New York Times, "Donald Trump Unveils Plan for Families in Bid for Women’s Votes," Sept. 13
CNN Politics, "Trump pitches black voters: 'What the hell do you have to lose?'," Aug. 19
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