The White Sheep-Donald Trump’s Attempt to Sway the African American Vote

“We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.” If only Mr. King’s words would resonate loudly again today. The racial tension that this election cycle has uncovered is cause for concern. Though both major candidates have their pasts, one candidate is still blindly throwing hateful rhetoric around.

Of course that candidate is Donald Trump. Mr Trump has a murky history with the African American community. It started with his refusal to rent to “recipients of welfare”, which led to him being sued by the government. To add to the fiasco, he was sued again five years later for failing to comply with the settlement. This led to two of those buildings still having 95% white populations.

Though that was forty years ago, people can change with the times can’t they? Let’s look at some recent data. According to political scientist Larry Sabato, Trump’s polling with African Americans is truly horrendous. So horrid that he is polling worse than Barry Goldwater did in 1964 and George Wallace in 1968. Goldwater voted against the civil rights acts while Wallace voted for segregation. They took in 6% and 3% of the black vote respectively. Trump is polling at 1–2%.

Keeping that in mind, one has to wonder how this came to be. His racially charged speeches and comments have constantly separated minorities from himself and his base of followers. This tactic harmed his image with all minorities, though it could be argued that the support it garnered hurt it even more so.

White supremacist groups and their advocates have become Trump’s most zealous supporters. With the likes of former KKK grand wizard, and current Senate hopeful, David Duke saying not voting for Trump was “betraying your heritage.” It isn’t as though the black community has not offered Trump chances for atonement. He just is not taking advantage of events that could help his image among the minority communities. One such event, the annual NAACP convention, he skipped out on even though Mitt Romney went in 2012.

The media made Trump the serious contender for presidency he is today. His ties to Breitbart and Fox News in particular are extensive. Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager who is still getting paid a severance stipend, works for Fox News and constantly speaks in favor of Trump. Steve Bannon, a chairman of Breitbart, is Trump’s campaign CEO at the moment. Bannon is an inflammatory figure, and it should be noted he wrote a rap many claim to have been race baiting about the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Though his writing partner of 18 years has gone to say she never saw a racist side to him. He was “definitely an elitist” just no racist. He “didn’t like anyone that was poor”. Adding these controversial figures to his campaign did not help Trump with the African American vote at all.

At the end of the day, Trump is convinced that his appeal to economic woes will help his odds with a group that is more concerned with social justice. So it’s not a surprise that Mike Pence, his running mate, laughed when asked about Trump’s statement that he’d win 95% of the African American vote on his hypothetical reelection run. “It’s pure Trump,” he said. Unfortunately it is.

— Austyn

On the Mind is a collaborative news and opinion project headed by three politically-minded millennial contributors. To see more of our content, view regular posts and listen to our weekly podcast, follow us on Facebook.