There's a reason why the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns are behaving like the election could turn on a single, newly coined noun -- "deplorables."
The political firestorm over the Democratic nominee's use of the word to demean half of her rival's supporters might seem like another of the bizarre spats that trivialize presidential races. But the controversy has turned into one of those rare campaign moments when strategists for each candidate are happy to trade fire on the same ground.
"We have the support of cops and soldiers and carpenters and welders and accountants and lawyers, the young and the old, and millions of working class families all over this nation," Trump said in Iowa Tuesday. "My opponent slanders you as deplorable and irredeemable."But the Clinton campaign -- struggling to move past damaging video showing the Democratic nominee stumbling and wobbly over the weekend -- is hardly in a defensive crouch on the "deplorables" comment. Instead, the plan is to turn the tables on Trump with the implicit accusation that if anyone is deplorable, it is him.
"This is not a mistake on Clinton's part. She is looking up at the polls, they are tightening and there is an enthusiasm gap in favor of Trump," said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist who is not affiliated with the Trump campaign. "She is engaging in what some would argue is a high-risk strategy to gin up support among voters who just might not turn out."
O'Connell added: "Turnout is the biggest issue for her. The map is the biggest issue for Trump."