Every four years or so we see a lot of discussion about how Republicans can increase their share of votes from members of the black community. The elite consensus always seems to be that Republicans should:
1. Stop being racist
2. Offer more
free stuff government benefits.
Donald Trump, whose campaign has been embroiled in countless racial controversies, called on the Republican Party to improve its outreach to black voters on Saturday.
“Outreach to the African-American community is an area where the Republican Party must do better,” said Trump, at an evening campaign stop in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Coming from Trump, the chiding may be hard to swallow for Republican leaders, who have seen their plans to improve minority outreach following Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss undermined by the New York businessman’s actions and inflammatory statements about minorities. The Republican nominee has repeatedly retweeted white supremacists, retweeted false statistics that blame black Americans for more murders than they actually commit, and declined to condemn the Ku Klux Klan in a television interview before later disavowing the group on Twitter.
“The GOP is the Party of Lincoln, and I want our party to be the home of the African-American vote once again. I want an inclusive country, and I want an inclusive party,” said Trump, who has made explicit appeals to black voters at recent rallies, including a widely criticized address in Michigan on Friday. A recent average of four national polls showed Trump with the support of 2 percent of black voters, behind not only Hillary Clinton at 86 percent, but also Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 5 percent and Libertarian Gary Johnson at 4 percent.
Clinton News Network:
Donald Trump acknowledged Saturday that the Republican Party “must do better” in appealing to African-Americans.
But in the same speech here, he again slammed an order by the state’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, to restore voting rights to some convicted felons who have completed their sentences, a move McAuliffe says could help African-Americans who were disproportionally affected by laws that put lifetime bans on felons.
They can even use their parole cards as voter ID.
At a rally Friday night in Dimondale, Mich., Donald Trump repeated a version of a plea to black voters that he had offered 24 hours earlier in North Carolina.
“No group in America has been more harmed by Hillary Clinton’s policies than African Americans,” he said, apparently pointing to individuals in the crowd. “No group. No group. If Hillary Clinton’s goal was to inflict pain to the African American community, she could not have done a better job. It is a disgrace.”
“Detroit tops the list of most dangerous cities in terms of violent crime, number one,” he said from a city 90 minutes away from Detroit with a population that is 93 percent white. “This is the legacy of the Democratic politicians who have run this city. This is the result of the policy agenda embraced by crooked Hillary Clinton.”
He went on.
This was not the Teleprompter Trump that we saw in Charlotte, interlacing his prepared remarks with occasional asides. This was Traditional Trump, riffing a bit more on what he wanted to say in a manner that probably didn’t do him much good.
Consider: Black Americans are not “living in poverty” as a general rule. A quarter of the black population is, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about the same as the percentage of Hispanics. In Michigan, the figure is slightly higher. Most black Americans don’t live in poverty, just as most white Americans don’t.
Consider: The unemployment rate in the black community is higher than that in the white community, as it has been since the Department of Labor started keeping track. Among young blacks, though, the figure is not 59 percent — unless (as PolitiFact noted) you consider not the labor force but every young black American, including high school students. Many young black high school students are unemployed. This isn’t a metric that the Labor Department typically uses, for obvious reasons, but calculating the rates for young whites gives you about 50 percent, too.
There are any number of reasons that black Americans might view Trump unfavorably, starting with his 2011 effort to cast suspicion on Obama’s place of birth. Or, probably, starting with his full-page ad calling for the death penalty against five black teenagers in New York City who were accused of rape — wrongly, as it turned out. Or perhaps thanks to the support his current candidacy is getting from people like former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.
There’s no reason to think that Trump’s suggestion that black Americans had “nothing to lose” because they “are living in poverty” will do anything to reverse that trend. Nor was his insistence in North Carolina that he should get votes from black voters because “the inner cities are so bad.” Some black people, research shows, live in places besides the “inner city.”
So why make the argument? It could be, simply enough, that Trump doesn’t have anyone in his inner circle that can provide a sense of how to reach out to the black community. One adviser said on CNN that Trump making his appeal in a mostly white town wasn’t a big deal and that “maybe it would have been nice if he went and had a backdrop with a burning car.” Or maybe Trump was listening to Ben Carson, who in May made a similar argument for Trump: He would only be president for four years, so what could go wrong?
It’s likely that Trump’s continuing lack of meaningful outreach to black voters keeps him from understanding effective ways of arguing his case. When he went to Baton Rouge to see flood damage, he stopped at a Baptist church with a mostly white congregation.
Or maybe black voters aren’t his intended audience. Maybe, with his poll numbers low thanks to soft support from his own party, Trump is trying to convince Republicans that he wants or can earn the black vote. In our most recent poll, one-fifth of Republican men and a quarter of Republican women agreed with the statement that Trump is biased against women and minorities. He gets 90 and 80 percent of the vote from those groups, respectively. Maybe this is an attempt to get them to see him as doing real outreach, even if he isn’t.
Incidentally, all those articles were written by white people.
You have to admit, the Democrats have done a good job convincing black people that Republicans are racists. Over the past 50 years no demographic group has been more loyal to Democrats than black people.
So how is that working out for them?