Elections

Will Trump’s Long Courtship of Black Voters Work?

If so, it will mark Donald Trump’s greatest political achievement—at least equal to his stunning 2016 victory—potentially destabilizing the Democratic Party’s most faithful constituency in the future.

Democrats are panicking—and not just because their presidential candidate isn’t up to the task of running for president let alone running the country.

No, Democrats are fearful that Donald Trump’s four-year courtship of black voters will reap electoral dividends in November. “Both campaigns tell me that there is a chance that Donald Trump could overperform with African American men,” NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd admitted this week. “It’s a concern of the Biden campaign and it’s a focus of the Trump campaign.”

While Todd blamed Trump for “stoking racial tensions” in an attempt to win back suburban voters, the fact is that no other Republican president or candidate has worked harder to earn the long-elusive support of black Americans. “What have you got to lose?” Trump memorably asked black voters during a rally in August 2016. “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Trump’s gauntlet was both a backhanded slap at the country’s first black president and a promise that he would do better. Turns out, it wasn’t empty campaign sloganeering; from negotiating a rare moment of bipartisanship to pass the First Step Act in 2018 to hosting the first-ever Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House, President Trump and his family have had some success in dismantling the partisan barrier between blacks and the Republican Party.

Progress Interrupted

Before the double-whammy of COVID-19 and a punishing lockdown, the economic picture for blacks had never been brighter. In December 2019, the unemployment rate for black workers reached its lowest level on record.

Wages were rising fastest among blacks; a provision in the president’s signature 2017 tax cut bill created “opportunity zones” for economically distressed areas, mostly in inner cities. “The trade policies that shuttered our factories, gutted our communities, and shipped millions and millions and millions of jobs overseas and to other places, they spend trillions of dollars in the Middle East, but they allowed our own cities to crumble in total disrepair,” the president said during a February speech touting the policy.

New voices are amplifying the president’s message. Thanks to outspoken black conservative leaders such as Candace Owens, the cofounder of Blexit, a nonprofit working at the grassroots level to encourage blacks to “liberate” themselves from the Democratic Party, minorities are giving the Republican Party a second—first?—look.

And there are indications the multipronged outreach might be working; recent polls show double-digit support for the president, albeit low double-digits. Trump won eight percent of the black vote in 2016, a slight improvement over Mitt Romney’s paltry six percent in 2012. But a Harris/Hill poll released Wednesday shows Trump with 16 percent of the black vote; the president is favored by 12 percent of blacks in a new Economist/YouGov poll. (Both polls also indicate roughly a quarter of Hispanic voters plan to vote for Trump.)

But there’s even worse news for Team Biden: According to a Zogby poll released this week, 36 percent of African Americans approve of Trump’s job performance.

If those figures hold, or likely rise after this week’s successful showcasing of black Republican candidates and supporters, it could make the difference in states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania and stop any hope of Democrats eeking out a surprise victory in North Carolina or Georgia, states with higher-than-average black populations.

Heartfelt Testimony

The Republican National Committee deserves kudos for the thoughtful inclusion of minorities who offered not just praise of the president but passionate defenses of American greatness. As the Trump-inspired courtship between Republicans and blacks is in its early stages, the GOP mustn’t rush into marriage at the risk of appearing exploitive. So far, the convention has hit a perfect pitch featuring a broad array of black voices giving sincere, compelling testimonials with the added bonus of driving the Left insane.

Football legend Herschel Walker talked about his “deep personal” friendship with Donald Trump. The president pardoned John Ponder, a three-time ex-felon who started a program to help former felons re-enter society. Civil rights activist Clarence Henderson caused liberal heads to explode after he endorsed Trump on Wednesday night. “He has done more for black Americans in four years than Joe Biden has done in fifty,” Henderson said. “If you vote for Joe Biden, you don’t know history.”

Black Republican officeholders, including Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, talked about criminal justice reform and the chaos besieging Democratic-run cities. 

“Republicans will never turn a blind eye to unjust acts,” Cameron, 34, the Bluegrass state’s first black attorney general, said during his Tuesday night speech. “But neither will we accept an all-out assault on western civilization.”

There might be down ballot advantages, too. This year, 24 black Republicans are running in congressional districts currently held by Democrats. (John James, a black Republican, is in a close race to defeat Senator Gary Peters, a first-term Democrat from Michigan.) 

Kim Klacik, who earned national attention a few weeks ago with her viral campaign video while walking the burned-out streets of Baltimore, condemned the “decades of incompetence and corruption” under Democratic rule in that city. She’s running against Kweisi Mfume in Maryland’s overwhelmingly Democratic 7th District.

While many are longshot candidates, a few have a legitimate chance to win, including former NFL player Burgess Owens. The Super Bowl champion is trying to flip back Utah’s 4th Congressional District, which was narrowly taken by a Democrat in 2018. During his Tuesday night convention speech, Owens talked about his great-great-grandfather’s arrival “shackled in the belly of a slave ship,” his own rise as a football star, and how he rebuilt his life after a failed business.

Democrats’ Pandering May Backfire

While Trump and Republicans put the full-court press on earning the black vote, Democrats are offering little more than a full-throated endorsement of Black Lives Matter coupled with pledges to defund the police. That also might backfire as inner-city residents stand amid the rubble of neighborhoods destroyed by “protestors” and Antifa degenerates wondering how they’ll rebuild. 

Biden’s campaign slogan “Rebuild Back Better” runs afoul of his pandering to BLM activists and half-hearted criticism of rioters, looters, and arsonists. Democratic governors and mayors are selectively impotent in the face of nonstop violence that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

“President Trump has been a champion for the black community and has never stopped working to earn our respect and vote,” Paris Dennard, senior communications advisor for the RNC, told American Greatness on Thursday. “Black Americans are looking at the record of Joe Biden and are not inspired by Biden’s legacy of bigotry. In November, we will see more black Americans supporting President Trump.”

If so, it would mark Donald Trump’s greatest political achievement—at least equal to his stunning 2016 victory—potentially destabilizing the Democratic Party’s most faithful constituency in the future. It also would represent another example of how this president prevailed where past Republicans failed and how he once again laid the groundwork for a major recalibration of American politics.