Why Trump is losing the black vote, and in turn the election

Posted on September 12, 2016 by

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From his very first speech, Donald Trump has made it a center point of his campaign to insult just about everyone and the largest make up of his ‘insultees’ have been minority groups. He has demonstrated time and again that he intends to win the presidency just by winning the white vote, without seriously trying to appeal to people of color. However, 2016 is the year with the most diverse voter base in history and it is unlikely that a candidate can win without some support from minority groups. It is evident that African Americans are the group that is least likely to vote for Trump, with his polling percentages among African Americans ranging from 0-6%. If the 2008 and 2012 elections are any indicator, it is not likely that Trump will win the presidency with such little support from the black community. Trump has not actively tried to win over black voters and this is a large part of why he will lose the election.

His “America First” ideology has definitely helped him gain the majority of his supporters, most of whom are white working class men. These voters tend to be less educated, live in rural areas, have a pent up animosity towards the establishment, and don’t seem to care much about the struggles of African Americans.

The chart below shows the results from a recent PEW study that looked at key issues among voters in this election.

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The data shows that treatment of minorities is not nearly as important to whites as it is to people of color. And why would it be? After all, whites are not the ones who are disproportionately sent to prison or more likely to have a hate crime committed against them due to their race. Since they have never faced this sort of discrimination on a large racially based scale, it is difficult for them to empathize with people of color.

The chart below shows that even fewer Trump supporters believe treatment of minorities is a “very important” issue compared to 79% of Clinton supporters. Some of the issues that matter most to Trump supporters such as terrorism and immigration tend to be racially and ethnically motivated and demonstrate the fear they have of those who could potentially take what they have away from them.

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It is not just Trump supporters who have turned away from this issue, Trump himself has severely isolated himself from the black community. There are many reasons why a black voter would be discouraged to vote for Trump. Perhaps the most alarming is summarized by Zeba Blay in this Huffington Post article:

Besides dragging his feet in disavowing David Duke and white supremacy as a whole, Trump has been pretty conspicuous about failing to call out some elements of his core supporters who are quite obviously racist. Case in point: the several instances in the last few weeks of peaceful black protestors at Trump rallies being forcefullyviolently removed by his supporters.

Instead of rejecting an endorsement from the KKK and condemning the actions of his supporters, he encouraged the behavior. It’s challenging at this point to make the argument that Trump is not spreading racist ideals when there are clearly racist undertones in his rhetoric and demeanor.

He used racially based stereotypes in his recent address to black voters in which he attempted to convince them as to why he would be the better candidate for them over Hillary Clinton. His exact words were:

You live in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?

The facts are that most black people are not living in inner cities and the unemployment rate of black youth is about the same as that of white youth. While there is some truth to the claim that the schools black kids attend are not as high of quality, he completely ignores the history and reasons of why this might be the case. He also seems to have forgotten the fact that he was once sued by the Justice Department for discriminating against black people trying to rent from his apartments or when he said: “laziness is a trait in blacks”. Playing on racial stereotypes and discriminating against a group a candidate is trying to appeal to is not the best way to convince those people to vote for him.

It is clear that even when he tries to appeal to black voters, he is actually trying to appeal to white voters who don’t feel comfortable voting for a candidate that is “racist”. Trymaine Lee of NBC News makes this argument:

Some have speculated that Trump’s latest overture to black voters is not aimed at blacks per se, but at white college educated voters. While Trump holds a sizable lead over Clinton with uneducated white voters, Clinton holds a 47 percent to 40 percent lead with white, college-educated voters — a historically reliable Republican demographic. The theory goes that many educated white voters, who tend to be less socially conservative than their less-educated counterparts, may be turned off by the perception that Trump’s rhetoric on a number of issues appears racist or bigoted, etc. By showing that he’s reaching out to blacks, Trump may be trying to make some white voters more comfortable with him.

It is evident that Trump is not focused on appealing to people of color and is hardly relying on them to win this election. While it is still possible to win the presidency with 70% of the white vote, the demographics do not seem to be in his favor this time. A president that is only representative of one race out of a diverse country is a scary thought to some. The fact that Clinton and Trump are close in the polls is a cause of concern for voters who feel as though they are threatened by a Trump presidency. However, since the trends are that in the past couple elections, the winner has not needed a white majority to win, and with the severe dislike the African American community has for Trump, a miracle would truly need to happen for Trump to defeat Clinton and become the next president.

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