To the surprise of very many, Donald Trump is actually doing great with African American voters.
Of course “great” is a relative term. Mr. Trump is no threat to win a majority or even a plurality of the Black vote. But according to the LA Times tracking poll, as of September 21st Mr. Trump’s support among Blacks is at 19.6% nationally, very nearly at the 20-25% point where writer Deroy Murdock claimed would be “curtains for the Democrats.”
In certain state polls, Donald Trump has polled even better. In a recent Trafalgar Group poll, as of September 14th, Trump is winning 26% of the Black vote in South Carolina. And on August 24th a Florida Atlantic University saw Trump at 20% popularity among Floridian Blacks, a 400% increase over the percentage of the Black vote Mitt Romney and 67% over the percent Rick Scott won in 2012.
To further underline these numbers, consider that in presidential elections after 1960 Republican candidates have won only 10.15% of the African American vote. Since and including the 2000 election Republican candidates have won only 7.25% of the Black vote. These are disastrous numbers for the GOP even if they won in 2000 and 2004. As Deroy Murdock pointed out after the 2012 election in which Governor Romney only lost by 3.8 percentage points, even a marginal increase in his Black support in certain key states – from 3% to 5% in Ohio, for example – may have won Mitt Romney the presidency, with barely an uptick in support from White voters.
Much credit should be given to the Trump campaign for making an effort to reach the Black voter, as opposed to other GOP presidential candidates who even when they did seek the Black vote – say, give an obligatory NAACP speech for example – gave the impression of ‘getting it out of the way’ reminiscent of a child wolfing down his broccoli so that he can get to his mac and cheese.
But what makes these numbers even more interesting is that they are for a candidate many consider to be racist. True, it would be a challenge to find a living Republican who has not been smeared as a racist at some point – including most Black Republicans – but the charge does seem to have a bit more credibility than usual, particularly because of the early 70s lawsuits in which the Trumps were charged with discriminating against Blacks seeking to rent property from them. (These charges, it should be pointed out, were settled without an admission of guilt, and seemed to reflect business practices from Donald’s father Fred that were very common in NYC in real estate and employment agencies, even when I moved in NYC more than a decade later.)
Yet if Donald Trump is a racist,, or was a racist, it has been the history of African American voting that this may matter very little. If the candidates’ racism was pivotal to African Americans when deciding for whom to vote, Lyndon Johnson – who according to several historians and witnesses used the “n-word” as frequently as Captain Marvel yells “Shazam!” – would not have won 94% of the Black vote against Barry Goldwater, founding member of the Arizona chapter of the NAACP.
Rather than race, many 20th century Black voters – sandwiched as they were between the injustices of slavery and Jim Crow laws – sought justice in the form of Leftist economic policies. Progressive redistribution of wealth became in a sense the primary civil right for many Black voters, as the yearning for economic equality surpassed the want for social or political equality.
W.E.B. DuBois joined the Socialist Party in 1911 and the Communist Party in 1961, Paul Robertson became an advocate for the Soviet Union in 1934, and Dr. Martin Luther King said in a 1965 speech “Call it democracy or call it Democratic Socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.” All three serve as good examples of the Black mindset that saw 71% of Blacks vote for Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 and never fail to deliver less than 61% of its vote to the more Progressive presidential candidate in every election since.
Even many of the Black Republicans between the New Deal to the Reagan Revolution proved to be an easy audience for the Left. The most prominent African American elected official during this time for example was Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke. Senator Brooke was indeed a great and popular political figure, but it is telling that the claim that naming him as Gerald Ford’s running mate would guarantee Ford’s victory came not from the Republican Party but from Jesse Jackson.
More telling, the American Conservative Union (ACU), which ranks congressmen on their conservatism on a 0-100 scale, gives Senator Tim Scott a lifetime rating of 96, and gives Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders lifetime ratings of 10, 8, and 6 respectively. In 1976 Senator Brooke’s ACU rating was 3. Only Senators Tim Kaine and Tammy Baldwin are considered more liberal than Senator Brooke in the current Senate.
While many of Republican presidential candidate, and recent speeches from Trump himself sound as though they were written by the Heritage Foundation, very few consider Trump as less than a Progressive-at-heart. Even as a GOP candidate Trump has argued for government controlled universal healthcare, higher taxes for the rich, a higher minimum wage, penalties for companies wishing to relocate to a tax-friendlier nations, continued funding for Planned Parenthood, and so on. Even his mantra “I will fix it” – invoking increased presidential powers – is as rooted in Progressivism as “Yes We Can!”
That Trump is largely a Progressive is to his advantage in courting the Black vote. But ironically it is his Conservative views – assuming that they are heartfelt – that makes him the best candidate for African Americans.
One issue that demonstrates my assertion is abortion, which Trump promises to oppose. Abortion has become so epidemic in the Black community that its effects has become akin to a slow genocide of Black people. As Pastor Walter E. Hoye points out “The Total Fertility Rate for Black American’s is 1.8, which is again below the replacement level fertility rate of 2.1 or the rate at which a generation can replace itself. Clearly, abortion is the biggest single negative force on Black American growth generally.” In other words, as Pastor Hoye demonstrates, Black population is not reproducing at a rate to sustain itself largely because one Black child is being aborted every 74 seconds in the U.S.
Another issue on which Trump takes the conservative (opposing) position is illegal immigration. In their 2009 paper, Immigration and the Economic Status of African-American Men, scholars George Borjas of Harvard, and Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon Hanson of the University of Chicago, present analysis that suggests that “a 10-percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by about 3 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by about 5 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by one percentage point.”
Even open-border advocates routinely concede that their policy would hurt the poor. Professor Bryan Caplan – a former AACONS guest – wrote in his paper, Why Should We Restrict Immigration? that, “Under open borders, low-skilled wages are indeed likely to fall” and “Immigration makes low-skilled natives worse off.” Well, one can argue for or against Caplan’s assertion that the benefits of open-borders would outweigh the damage such a policy would do to “low-skilled natives”, but there can be no argument against the realization that a disproportionate number of these natives will be Black.
Donald Trump has also been what too many politicians attempting to appeal to Black votes have been afraid to be – an advocate for law and order. Here is his answer to the ‘racial divide’ from his first debate with Hillary Clinton:
Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s law and order. And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.
We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African- Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.
In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st. Thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing? And we have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order. In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years, in fact, almost 4,000 have been killed since Barack Obama became president, over — almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed. We have to bring back law and order.
Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.
We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they’re illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.
Right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything. We have to protect our inner cities, because African-American communities are being decimated by crime, decimated.
Quite is quite a contrast with Hillary Clinton, who is so timid in her support of law and order that she refused to seek the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
Trump asks in his appeal to Black voters “What do you have to lose?” Perhaps the question should be “How much do you have to gain by supporting me?” It is assumed in many African American political circles that the more Progressive a candidate is, the more pro-Black he or she will surely be. However, I would argue the precise opposite, that the more Conservative a candidate is, the better he or she will be for the African American community. And as Trump is the most conservative candidate in the race, it profits African Americans to support him.
One should pray however that the last 70 days or so of Trump’s espousal of Conservatism offsets the previous 70 or so years of his Progressivism, and that his election would not be the death knell of true Conservatism.