President Donald Trump appears to be in a position to capture the highest percentage of the African-American vote of any Republican candidate since former President Dwight Eisenhower if current trends continue.
In 2016, the then-New York businessman famously made his pitch to black Americans, asking, “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?”
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?”
Trump didn’t appear to persuade too many African-Americans to take a chance on him, but he did convince some, garnering 8 percent of the black vote, an improvement over 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney (6 percent) and 2008 nominee John McCain (4 percent).
Dwight Eisenhower, the last non-politician to be elected president until Trump, was the most successful Republican candidate among African-Americans in the post World War II era, winning 39 percent of their vote in 1956.
The following year, the war hero would prove African-Americans’ faith in him was well-placed when he ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education desegregating the nation’s schools.
In 1957, Eisenhower also signed the first Civil Rights legislation since the Reconstruction years of the 1870s.
Ike’s vice president, Richard Nixon, would go on to tally a relatively strong 32 percent of the black vote in his losing presidential bid against Massachusetts Sen. John Kennedy in 1960.
Since that election, African-American support for Republican candidates has hovered mostly around 10 percent or lower.
However, the prospects are looking better for Trump going into 2020.
A July Fox News poll found the president’s approval rating among African-Americans at 22 percent.
Recent daily tracking polls by Rasmussen have shown that approval running as high as 34 percent.
Lest you dismiss these as numbers coming from conservative sources, an NAACP poll released 19 months into Trump’s presidency already showed him at 21 percent approval among African-Americans.
Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, told RealClearPolitics in June that he believes his candidate can more than quadruple his 8 percent support in the upcoming election.
Parscale said a survey conducted by his team going door-to-door to 1,200 black households showed the president in “low double digits.”
But when the voters were informed of Trump’s criminal justice reform record, his support jumped to 38 percent.
Black conservative commentator Brandon Tatum anticipates that Trump will do much better among African-Americans in 2020 than he did in 2016, not only because of his record but also because of the Democratic Party’s lack of a positive agenda.
“I think Donald Trump is in a very unique position,” Tatum told The Western Journal. “Trump is doing a lot of great things on paper for African-Americans.”
“He has advocated for the success of black folks. You see unemployment is at an all-time low. Black people are working more. Black women are doing better. All of these things are happening and occurring under President Trump.”
Tatum pointed to Trump’s policies of cutting taxes and securing the border as other issues that resonate with many African-Americans.
The former police officer said that he and fellow “Blexit” (black exit from the Democratic Party) activist Candace Owens are prime examples of the type of people Trump is converting to his cause.
“I often look at myself and Candace Owens,” Tatum said. “Before Trump, we were both liberals and after Trump, we both have had influence of millions of people. Candace has had even more.”
It’s time to return our faith to God, not Government.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) September 11, 2019
“How many more Candace Owens and Brandon Tatums are arising, just because me and her switched,” he said.
Tatum sees 20 percent African-American backing as the floor of what Trump is likely to achieve in 2020.
“The Democrats have figured out that Black America is emotionally responsive to the word racism” @RealCandaceO
— REVOLT TV (@revolttv) September 15, 2019
Conservative media personality and former presidential candidate Herman Cain is not ready to put a number on the support Trump may receive from African-Americans in 2020, but he thinks it will be higher.
He also believes exit polling likely did not fully capture Trump’s support in 2016.
“CNN exit polling is not reliable,” Cain said. “If you’re asking black people, and they’re coming from a black precinct, some of them aren’t going to tell you the truth.”
The commentator added many people in general that he comes into contact with around the country “like to whisper at me, they’re supporting Trump,” but they won’t be vocal about it “because they don’t want to have to go through the hassle.”
Cain contended the key to increasing the president’s black voter turnout in 2020 will be communicating how his policies are benefiting African-Americans.
Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, helped in that effort earlier this summer when he praised the Trump economy and added the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left.
“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employments and the opportunities that come with employment … so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level, ” Johnson said.
The businessman credited the Trump tax cuts with helping create the current economic climate.
All of this bodes well for the president’s chances of winning significantly more of the African-American vote than any Republican candidate in recent memory.
And if Trump succeeds in that endeavor, a second term seems all but assured.
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