Left: Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States waves as she arrives on stage a the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 46th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner, at the Washington Convention Center, September 17 2016, in Washington, DC. (Olivier Douliery/CNP/AdMe/SIPA/1609181836) Right:Donald Trump takes the stage on the last day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, the United States, July 21, 2016. New York billionaire Donald Trump officially accepted the presidential nomination of the U.S. Republican Party Thursday night on the final day of the Republican National Convention. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Violent attacks in the U.S. states of New York, New Jersey and Minnesota over the weekend could help Republican candidate Donald Trump's presidential campaign, at a time when terror threat is on the rise.
The weekend saw a chain of incidents including the bombings in downtown New York and New Jersey, which injured dozens of people, and the stabbing attack by a man at a shopping mall in Minnesota, which wounded nine people.
Trump has for the past year been making the case that the current administration, to which his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is tied as a former secretary of state, has been soft on terrorism.
The bombastic businessman has been talking tough on the issue, vowing to use profiling and other means frowned upon by the Obama administration to go after terrorists.
"Terrorism generally has been a good issue for Trump because it plays to his argument that the world is a dangerous place and America needs a tough leader," Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies of the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua.
Trump will say that this confirms his narrative that the United States is under attack and extraordinary measures are needed to protect the country, West said.
"His best argument is that America needs a leader as tough-minded as our adversaries," he said.
In the wake of the latest attacks, Trump and Clinton traded barbs over how to deal with terrorism to ensure national security.
Trump has criticized Clinton for being "weak and ineffective" and "has the most open borders policy of anyone ever."
He blamed the terror attacks, including the shooting attacks in California and Florida, on the Obama administration's failure to screen those entering the country.
Claiming "Immigration security is national security," Trump promised to get tough on illegal immigration as a way of fighting terrorism.
For her part, Clinton slammed Trump's tough talks on immigration and other issues as a "recruiting tool" for the terrorists.
Clinton said Tuesday that recent violent attacks show that "to defeat the terrorists, we need experienced, steady leadership."
Dan Mahaffee, an analyst with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua that in the aftermath of the recent attacks, there is a chance that Trump could benefit from increased attention to security issues.
But there is a danger that Trump could overplay the issue and raise further concerns about his temperament in time of crisis, Mahaffee noted.
Experts said it remains unknown whether Trump will rise in the polls and climb ahead of Clinton after the latest incidents.
There could be a limit to any bounce in the polls on this topic, as the voters who have made their minds up will not be swayed one way or another and will continue to support their preferred candidate, Mahaffee said.
Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Xinhua that it's unknown now if the politics of fear will play into Trump's warnings about immigrants and Muslims, or if public concerns over safety will cause more voters to be concerned about Trump's erratic and vitriolic rhetoric and to seek experience and stability.
"We don't know right now," Zelizer said. "My guess is that he will bring the issue full circle ... claiming he will be tougher against the threat."