U.S. election 2016

As Clinton ails, Donald Trump defends his 'deplorables'

Maclean’s Bulldog, Sept. 12: Your daily rundown of what happened on the U.S. campaign trail

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visits a call center before the start of a rally in Asheville, N.C. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visits a call center before the start of a rally in Asheville, N.C. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Sept. 12, 2016: Our daily Bulldog election-campaign recaps return as the critical stretch of the U.S. election begins. On Monday, Donald Trump released an ad that attacked Hillary Clinton for calling half of his supporters ‘deplorable.’ In addition to backtracking slightly from her comments, Clinton’s team was out to reassure everyone  the Democratic nominee is healthy—just dealing with a bout of pneumonia—after a video of her stumbling at a 9/11 commemoration event surfaced over the weekend. Here’s what you need to know about what happened today on the campaign trail.

Hillary Clinton is sick

Last week, Clinton’s persistent cough was attributed to seasonal allergies. She joked that she was allergic to Trump. But when she was caught on cellphone video as she appeared to stumble at a 9/11 commemoration—a misstep that her campaign attributed to being “overheated and dehydrated”—the health of the Democrats’ presidential nominee has become a pressing issue on the U.S. campaign trail.

Her doctor diagnosed her with pneumonia and put her on antibiotics, and Clinton’s team has tried to reassure everyone that she’s fine. Her campaign also promised to release more medical records. Trump, meanwhile, who has long said Clinton doesn’t have the “strength or stamina” on the campaign trail, told Fox & Friends on Monday morning: “Something’s going on, but I just hope she gets well and gets back on the trail and we’ll be seeing her at the debate.”

MORE: Scott Gilmore on an absurd week in America’s two-tier election

The Deplorables

The Trump campaign released a new attack ad on Monday, targeting Clinton when she said over the weekend that half of Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables” including terms such as “racists, sexists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” Clinton has apologized for the “half” part of her comment, but it could be just the overgeneralization Trump needs to attack Clinton for the rest of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., went on Instagram and posted a photoshopped picture someone made of “the Deplorables”—riffing off the movie The Expendables—only to get in hot water as the green character next to Trump, Pepe the Frog, is a popular figure among “alt-right” white nationalists.

A debate with no moderators?

Trump floated the idea of there being no moderator for the upcoming debates between him and Clinton, telling CNBC that the system is rigged and any moderator would likely treat him unfairly.

The idea comes in the aftermath of the recent policy forum, where many complained that Matt Lauer did a poor job moderating by not fact-checking Trump’s claims on the spot. On Monday, the Republican said: “Everyone’s saying that [Lauer] was soft on Trump. Well now the new person’s gonna try to be really hard on Trump just to show, you know, the establishment what he can do. So I think it’s very unfair what they’re doing. So I think we should have a debate with no moderators—just Hillary and I sitting there talking.”

Steadying the polls

After a month of momentum for Trump—who was looking at a landslide loss in August but now has a legitimate shot at the presidency—the polls have stabilized with Clinton now projected to win 311 electoral votes come November, according to FiveThirtyEight, down from a peak of 369 electoral votes in mid-August. (It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.)

However, in states like Nevada and New Hampshire—both of which Barack Obama carried in his two presidential election campaigns—Trump is only one percentage point below Clinton among voters, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. And there’s plenty of time left for voters to change their minds.

From CIA director during the Clinton presidency to Trump adviser

Back when Bill Clinton was president, James Woolsey served as the director of the CIA. Now that Hillary Clinton is running for president, Woolsey will be an adviser for Trump on national security. While he may not agree with all of Trump’s promises—such as his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country—he told CNN he’s a bigger fan of Trump’s stronger defence budget.

Late night with Donald and Hillary

In the next two weeks, both Trump and Clinton will appear on The Tonight Show, NBC announced on Monday. Both have appeared on the program on separate occasions before, as host Jimmy Fallon is often one to bust out his Donald Trump impression.

Recommended reading: Haven’t heard of Breitbart? The right-wing news site is a favourite among America’s political conservatives. The news network’s executive chairman, Stephen Bannon, was recently tapped to lead Trump’s campaign the rest of the way. Here, The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about how how Breitbart “conqured the media.”

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