The offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State fighters began yesterday with a volley of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and heavy artillery bombardments east of the terrorist-held Iraqi city — in a fight that observers say could affect the U.S. presidential election.
Obama administration sources warned that if Islamic State fighters are hard-pressed, they may retaliate against Western targets, which in turn could push voters toward GOP candidate Donald Trump, Politico reported.
Ford O’Connell, a GOP political consultant who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, cited a Gallup Poll that showed the issues of terrorism and security are currently fifth and sixth among voters’ top concerns.
“Compared to domestic issues, the electorate is not focused on what’s happening in Mosul,” he said. “I don’t see that helping or hurting Trump or Clinton. What this election is totally focused on is Trump’s fitness to be president and, ‘Is Hillary a crook?’”
But O’Connell said that could change if ISIS stages a retaliatory terrorist attack.
“If ISIS strikes back at us, it’s more likely to be beneficial to Trump than Clinton,” he said. “As you saw in the WikiLeaks, the Dems are trying to downplay terrorists or ISIS. That has been a concerted effort on their part.”