Arguably one of the biggest unanswered questions heading into the 2020 election is how much support President Donald Trump has among black voters, and whether that level of support will be substantially higher than it was in 2016.
For instance, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican, has suggested Trump’s support among black Americans in 2020 could rise by at least 50 percent from 8 percent to 12 percent.
It is of course impossible to make any surefire predictions about what Trump’s level of support among black Americans will be come November.
That said, Trump’s administration has taken innumerable steps policy-wise over the past few years that should appeal to many black voters.
And his re-election campaign — at least prior to the coronavirus outbreak — had begun to engage in concerted and targeted outreach efforts toward the black community on the president’s behalf.
Now, a black Democratic state representative in Georgia has publicly announced his endorsement of the president’s re-election bid — though quite predictably, he was immediately disowned and utterly savaged by his own fellow Democrats following that announcement.
State Rep. Vernon Jones — labeled by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “polarizing” and controversial figure — let it be known Tuesday that he was siding with the Republican President Trump over the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, in the upcoming election.
“It’s very simple to me,” Jones, who represents parts of Democrat-dominated DeKalb County, explained to the media outlet. “President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign.”
“There are a lot of African-Americans who clearly see and appreciate he’s doing something that’s never been done before,” he added.
“When you look at the unemployment rates among black Americans before the pandemic, they were at historic lows. That’s just a fact.”
Interestingly, Jones made it clear that he had no intention of switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
However, given the severe backlash he received from his fellow Georgia Democrats, that decision may very well be made for him, whether he wants it or not.
State Sen. Nikema Williams, who serves as chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, called Jones an “embarrassment.”
“Vernon Jones is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and does not stand for our values. Never has that been clearer than this moment, when he chose to stand with the racist president who has made an all-out assault on Black Americans, who has tried to rip away American health care, and who has failed our country in its greatest time of need during the most important election in our lifetimes,” Williams said in a statement.
That sentiment was echoed in a conference call with The AJC involving three top Democratic leaders in the Georgia House of Representatives, all of whom have now expressed their support for a primary challenger against Jones.
One of those Democrats, House Minority Leader Bob Trammell, even said he was sending a check to that challenger’s campaign immediately.
“We’re not sure what was on Vernon’s mind. It’s antithetical to what we believe in,” state Rep. James Beverly, chair of the party’s House caucus, told The AJC. “We can’t support an ideology that’s diametrically opposed to who we are and what we value.”
But Jones made it abundantly clear exactly what was on his mind, and it is quite telling that those things — a strong economy, low unemployment for black Americans, support for historically black colleges and universities, and criminal justice reform — were deemed “antithetical” and “diametrically opposed” to what Democrats stand for.
One can only presume that Georgia Democrats want a weak economy, high unemployment for black Americans, no support for black colleges and universities, and more black Americans imprisoned for nonviolent crimes.
Or, perhaps their unmitigated hatred for Trump overshadows everything else, even things that the Democratic Party itself pushed for prior to Trump taking office.
The AJC, biased toward the left as it is, dutifully joined forces with the Democrats and used the article to document some of the “controversy” throughout Jones’ career, such as various unproven and uncharged allegations against him in years past, as well as the fact that he’s been known to cross the aisle and work with Republicans on occasion.
Of course, while Georgia Democrats are now cursing Jones’ very existence over his endorsement of Trump, Georgia Republicans have greeted the now-outcast with open arms and are promoting his fearless endorsement, undoubtedly in the hope that it will convince other black Georgians to bravely buck the Democratic Party and follow suit.
“Vernon has been a Trump fan for a while,” Brandon Phillips, a Republican operative and the chair of Trump’s 2016 Georgia campaign, told The AJC. “Glad to see him putting Georgia first over party.”
Jones himself was unsurprised at the reaction his endorsement received.
“A philosopher once said, ‘One courageous man in the crowd is a majority.’ I’ve got the courage to express my convictions,” he told The AJC.”I believe that Donald Trump is the best person to lead this country going forward.”
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