The Trump 2020 campaign has been reaching out to prominent African Americans (quietly) about joining its latest coalition, intended to boost Republican support in the black community.
The campaign hopes that if it can shave a few points off Democrats’ overwhelming support among blacks, it can boost voter turnout in eight or so key states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — each of which Trump won by LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.
The pitch to African American voterss is pretty simple: Ignore the president’s words and instead focus on his policies.
Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati & former Ohio Secretary of State,
“Do I think some of his verbal formulations are inartful? Yeah. But for me, as a domestic policy adviser during the Trump transition, it has been all about the agenda, a set of results and tomorrow. You have to believe his policy agenda flies in the face of the false narrative of the racist-in-charge.”
Georgia businessman and longtime Trump supporter, Bruce LeVell, who led Trump’s National Diversity Coalition in 2016 says,
“I think people get caught up in the emotional with President Trump. Don’t get caught up in the emotions, pay attention to the numbers, not the he said-she said. I think black male voters, especially, will be a game changer for President Trump’s reelection.”
But a Quinnipiac University National Poll, released in late July, showed that 80 percent of African American voters surveyed considered Trump racist.
Black vote in ’16: Trump, 8%, Hillary, 89%.
Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and the FIRST African American to serve in that role said,
“The idea is that, because of his agenda, his comments on Charlottesville, Baltimore or shithole countries do not matter. Or that you can say the most racist things in the world, but hey, I got a tax cut. Or you can disparage my homeland, but the unemployment rate is going down.
I certainly think we should expect more from our political leaders. I would think they would expect more from us.
If Trump cracks 8 percent of the black vote again, it would be a miracle. We’re still a year-and-a-half out from the election, but the evidence right now suggests that it will be hard for him to get more than that, especially with African American women lined up against him.”
Trump has regularly defended himself by saying
“I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world…
What I’ve done for African Americans, no president, I would say, has done.”
The hope among Trump campaign officials is that this time it will be different.
Jennifer Hochschild, professor of government and African American studies at Harvard says,
“I do not have the inside track on it, but the success of the outreach depends on who is running it, how much money they are devoting to it and whether there is a genuine organizational effort, or if it is just a website run by a couple of kids. My guess is that it is mostly a waste of time. Republicans have been trying to do this for 50 years. Latinos are much more potentially movable into the Republican column.”
African Americans continue to suffer from a large disparity in wages relative to whites, making far more blacks vulnerable to economic downturns with fewer assets to fall back on.
Trump told the largely white audience in Dimondale, Mich.,
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose? Tonight, I’m asking for the vote of every single African American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future.”
Omarosa, a former senior Trump official said,
“Let’s just look at the way he treated his one and only African American assistant to the president. The president called me a dog. How will he explain that to African American female voters?
Now he has a track record, or lack thereof, with African American voters. It doesn’t matter what the campaign does, or if it spends millions on outreach, he will not get the black vote.”
I hate to agree with Omarosa, but…
(Photo, screen grab; via Politico)