Trump has 2 percent of the Black vote, so his campaign conducts a rally in a predominantly Black city. Charles Blow calls outreach “a lie.”
By Sheryl Estrada
The Trump campaign held a rally Wednesday night in Jackson, Mississippi, a predominantly Black city, in its said effort to make trips to diverse and urban areas to focus on the economy and jobs.
However, his headline guest speaker was Nigel Farage, an anti-immigration key figure in the successful campaign to get Britain out of the European Union.
Trump began to publicize his campaign’s attempt to court African American voters at a rally on Friday in Dimondale, Michigan, while speaking to a predominantly white audience.
“What do you have to lose” he said, addressing African Americans at large. “What do you have to lose You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good. You have no jobs 58 percent of your youth is unemployed.”
According to PolitiFact, Trump’s unemployment figure for Black youth is misleading. It’s based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment-population ratio, which is broad and includes every young Black American, even those still in high school or in college who are not employed or seeking jobs.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow said on Wednesday’s edition of CNN’s “New Day” that Trump’s comments were an outreach to white people.
“That’s all it is, and every time for the last 10 days people have been on television saying this is an outreach to Black people, and that is a lie, and we all knowthatit’sjusta lie,” Blow said.
“It is a lie because it is the most insidious kind of bigotry. It is the kind of bigotry that says I will knock you down while I pretend to pick you up.
“It says that I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to the guy behind you or over your shoulder. It’s the kind of bigotry that says I’m urinating on you and telling you to dance in the rain.
“This is the most horrible kind of bigotry. And the fact that people keep asking the same question, particularly to Black commentators like me, is he reaching out to Black people he is not reaching out to Black people. There’s nothing about this appeal that has any resonance with anyone Black that I can even find.”
Trump has rarely met with Black leaders and has turned down invitations from the NAACP, National Association of Black Journalists and National Urban League among others.
GOP strategist Ron Christie, who is Black, told NPR that Republicans have it wrong in their messaging to the Black community:
“All Black folks aren’t in jail. All Black folks aren’t on welfare. All Black folks aren’t poor. But Republicans, I think, have made the mistake of putting the largely African American messaging in terms of crime, poverty and welfare rather than talking about empowerment, self-sufficiency and achieving the American dream.”
In a recent Pew Research poll, Trump was at 2 percent support among Black voters and 26 percent among Latinos.
The city of Jackson has a population of 170,674, which is 79.4 percent Black, 18.4 percent white and 1.6 percent Latino. The median household income in 2014 was $33,080 and about 30 percent of the population lives in poverty.
Wednesday night’s rally, in which the audience was predominantly white, opened with an anti-Hillary Clinton speech by a Black pastor named Mark Burns, who spoke at the Republican National Convention.
Trump again asked African American voters, “What do you have to lose by trying something new” he said. “What do you have to lose by voting for Donald J. Trump I will fix the problem.”
He said African American and Latino communities would be the biggest beneficiaries of new jobs. And, those jobs will not be”taken away.”
The focus of the rally was about Farage’s support for Trump, who was reportedly “softening” his approach on immigration. Farage used anti-immigration rhetoric and Islamophobia while fanning the fears of white, working-class Britons to help usher in a referendum vote to leave the European Union, known as the Brexit vote. Trump has sought to align himself with the Brexit movement, even before the June 23 referendum vote.
At the rally, Farage drew parallels between the Brexit movement and the support Trump has received from many Americans who feel left behind by Washington. He did not officially endorse Trump because he said he didn’t want to repeat what he called President Barack Obama’s meddling in British affairs when Obama urged Britons to vote to stay in the EU. But he did tell the crowd not to vote for Clinton.
Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, who is African American, said in an interview Black voters have taken note of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration.
“Black voters are still looking at what he says about Mexicans,” Simmons said. “And we know that once you start identifying people by racial group or Muslims by religion you start that circle it tends to come back around and smack Black voters in the face pretty quickly.”