Donald Trump’s direct appeal to black voters seems to be paying off, at least in the short term.
Immediately after the Republican nominee made his pitch to black Americans during a Tuesday speech in a Milwaukee suburb, the Los Angeles Times/USC Dornsife national tracking poll recorded an abrupt rise in Trump’s support among African-Americans, from 4.8 percent on Aug. 15 to 14.1 percent on Aug. 16.
For the five weeks prior to Trump’s speech, the same poll had Trump’s black support consistently hovering between 3 and 5 percent.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a black radio host who founded the nonprofit Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, or BOND, believes it’s the beginning of something bigger for Trump.
“I think you’re going to see more and more black Americans voting for Donald Trump, especially now that Donald Trump intentionally focused on black Americans in his last speech,” Peterson told WND. “He said out loud what the Democrats have been doing over the last 50 to 60 years by keeping black people down.”
Trump spoke Tuesday in West Bend, Wisconsin.
“We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes, not as individual human beings worthy of a better future,” he said.
“She doesn’t care at all about the hurting people of this country, or the suffering she has caused them. The African-American community has been taken for granted for decades by the Democratic Party. It’s time to break with the failures of the past – I want to offer Americans a new future.”
Trump’s speech came just two days after riots rocked black neighborhoods in the Milwaukee area. The candidate urged blacks to embrace law and order, which was the main theme of his speech.
“The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods,” Trump declared. “It is their jobs, their homes, their schools and communities which will suffer as a result. There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump administration.”
“I have no doubt in my mind that he’s going to draw more black people than any other Republican has ever done in recent times,” Peterson said. “Because we’ve not had any Republican candidate who has reached out to black Americans in the way that Donald Trump is doing it.
“Now those blacks are starting to hear Donald Trump for themselves, not filtered through someone else, like black leaders or the media. They’re hearing him speak for themselves, and that will allow them to make their own decisions.”
Ben Kinchlow, a black minister, broadcaster, author and businessman, took a more pessimistic view of Trump’s recent success. In his estimation, 14 percent support among blacks is no big deal given the history of the black vote.
“It needs to be understood that approximately 10 percent of blacks have always been in the Republican camp, and as noted in my book, ‘Black Yellowdogs,’ prior to the government handouts, blacks voted 90 percent Republican,” Kinchlow told WND. “Today’s black citizens are going to be reticent about changing from a party that purchases their loyalty with billions of dollars annually. What gets rewarded gets done, and as long as blacks are being rewarded for not working and for their dependency on the government system, little will change.”
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Nevertheless, Kinchlow believes Trump should continue to appeal to black voters.
“Trump should appeal to blacks to become partakers of the American Dream, not simply be dependent on government largesse,” said Kinchlow, an exclusive WND columnist. “He should point out that there are many success stories of blacks in American culture, such as businessmen and women, senators, congressmen, doctors, leaders in local governments, even the president. There are no racial barriers to achievement or success in America.”
Peterson, for his part, thinks continued African-American outreach could be part of a winning strategy for Trump. He said that when George W. Bush was in office, he urged the 43rd president to hold town hall meetings in urban black communities and talk directly to the people. He thought Bush should have bypassed the black leadership in favor of direct question-and-answer sessions with ordinary black citizens. Such an approach would have warmed the hearts of the black community, he believes.
“We would have more black support in the Republican Party already had the Republican president done that in the past,” Peterson said. “But they always end up going to the so-called ‘leadership’ and not directly to the people.”
The reverend proposed Trump should apply the outreach strategy to other minority communities as well, especially Hispanics.
“Hispanics are starting to do what blacks have done, and that is to rely on their leadership to tell them what to think and what to do, and they’re being set up to be used by their leadership as well as the Democratic Party in the same manner blacks have been used for the last 60 years,” Peterson explained. “But if Republicans go directly to the people in those minority communities, they won’t lose them in big numbers to the Democrats as they have lost the black vote.”
He pointed out Democrats have been much more willing than Republicans to go into black communities and talk to the residents. He said it’s high time the GOP stop ceding that territory to the Democrats.
“Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are all doing that, and the Democrats have done that for a long time,” Peterson noted. “They deal with the so-called leadership, but they also go and talk to the folks, the black folks. They go to the churches and they go into the communities and talk to them. Republicans need to do the exact same thing with all minority groups.”
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