US Elections 2016

Clinton, Trump take gloves off

Mr Trump, seen here with two young rally attendees in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last Friday, may have something to cry about with a disapproval rating of 57 per cent going by recent averages. But that is just above Mrs Clinton's 55 per cent. When i
Mr Trump, seen here with two young rally attendees in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last Friday, may have something to cry about with a disapproval rating of 57 per cent going by recent averages. But that is just above Mrs Clinton's 55 per cent. When it comes to voter intentions, a poll shows both candidates are in a statistical dead heat.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Rivals trade insults, portray sharply polarised visions of America as campaigns heat up

NEW YORK • The two contenders for the White House, Mrs Hillary Clinton and Mr Donald Trump, traded insults at opposite ends of the country as their campaigns heated up, taking their fight to rival battleground states and portraying starkly different visions of America.

One of the most divisive United States campaigns in modern history is entering a new chapter with Republicans and Democrats having selected their nominees, leaving the candidates slogging it out before election day on Nov 8.

Mrs Clinton followed her historic acceptance speech last Thursday as the first female presidential nominee for a major party with a rally in Philadelphia last Friday, before embarking on a bus tour of Rust Belt states Pennsylvania and Ohio.

In Colorado on the same day, a key western state, her Republican opponent promised to be "no more Mr Nice Guy".

He trashed the former secretary of state's speech as "average", called her a liar and promised to end the migration of Syrian refugees.

"I'm starting to agree with you," 70-year-old Mr Trump told supporters chanting "lock her up, lock her up" in Colorado Springs.

NO MORE PLAYING NICE

Just remember this Trump is going to be no more Mr Nice Guy.

MR DONALD TRUMP, who trashed Mrs Clinton's acceptance speech last Thursday as "average" and called her a liar.

"I'm taking the gloves off," he said. "Just remember this Trump is going to be no more Mr Nice Guy."

Just over 100 days before the election, Americans are being asked to choose between two sharply polarised visions - and between two monumentally unpopular candidates.

"I can't think of an election that is more important, certainly in my lifetime," Mrs Clinton told supporters at the rally in Philadelphia.

The 68-year-old Democrat portrays Mr Trump as a threat to democracy, and is seeking to both woo moderate Republicans repelled by the former reality TV star and shore up a coalition with progressives on the left of her party.

"Donald Trump painted a picture, a negative, dark, divisive picture of a country in decline," she said.

"I'm not telling you that everything is peachy keen - I'm telling you we've made progress, but we have work to do."

She promises to focus on parts of the country that have been "left out and left behind" - constituencies where declining living standards, fears about safety and lost jobs have fuelled support for Mr Trump.

Mr Trump, who has never previously held office, portrays himself as the law-and-order candidate - the outsider who will shake up an out-of-touch Washington, restore jobs, cut the deficit and end illegal immigration.

According to recent averages, Mrs Clinton's unpopularity is second to her billionaire rival's, with a disapproval rating of 55 per cent compared with his 57 per cent.

Ratings from Nielsen showed that 2.2 million more people had tuned in to watch Mr Trump's acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention on July 21 than Mrs Clinton's last Thursday.

When it comes to voter intentions, both candidates are in a statistical dead heat, according to the most recent poll average from RealClearPolitics.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 31, 2016, with the headline 'Clinton, Trump take gloves off'. Print Edition | Subscribe