Donald Trump repeatedly took jabs at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at a rally Tuesday in North Carolina, hitting her for the email scandal, the spread of Islamic State terrorism and the Iran deal.
But the scattershot attacks fell short of the singleminded assault on Mrs. Clinton that GOP strategists are recommending for the New York billionaire to regain his footing in the race and start climbing in the polls. They are urging Mr. Trump to keep his message tightly focused on Mrs. Clinton to make the election a referendum on her and whether Americans think they are better off after eight years under President Obama.
The message should resonate because Republican, Democratic and independent voters this year have demonstrated that they want to shake up the Washington establishment and break from the status quo. And Mrs. Clinton, a fixture in U.S. politics for 25 years as first lady, senator and secretary of state, embodies the establishment, the status quo and a continuation of Mr. Obama’s policies.
“He’s dug himself a deep hole because he’s allowed this race to become a referendum on his fitness to be president. If he wants to win this, he has to eventually make it a referendum on Hillary Clinton and/or the rigged system she’s promoting,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP consultant and conservative activist.