The Platinum Plan: How Trump Increased His Black Vote by 50% and What We Can Learn From It

Do you know what Donald Trump’s “Platinum Plan was? Most Black people I know do. Most white people have never heard of it.

The plan — a two-page document released just weeks before the 2020 election — details the four pillars of Trump’s commitment to Black Americans (Opportunity, Security, Prosperity and Fairness) and outlines his promises to Black America over the next four years, including 3 million new jobs, better and cheaper healthcare, better educational opportunities and improved safety and justice on America’s streets.

It sounds pretty good. But the sentiment of the “Plan” runs contrary to the repeated bigoted and racist behavior he showed over the past four years, right up to his attempt to invalidate millions of Black votes. 

Yet, it worked.

During the 2020 presidential election, Trump increased the percentage of Black votes he received by more than 50%. The mainstream (white) press has not reported on this, but I think “The Platinum Plan” was key to this increase. Although the president has been sued by thousands of people for failing to keep promises for most of his life, a sketchy plan is better than no plan for Black Americans who have one-tenth of the household wealth, three times more maternal mortality, two-and-a-half times more infant mortality, twice as likely to die from COVID-19 and a 5% overall, lower life expectancy than white Americans.

What the success of Trump’s Platinum Plan (in Black votes) demonstrates is that Black people respond to clearly stated goals just as well as any other people. 

White people responded to “Make America Great Again” — a value statement and slogan so clear, he used it without adjustment four years later, even increasing the number of votes he received in the general election. This, even as his “leadership” over COVID-19 has resulted in Americans suffering a death rate almost five times the world’s per capita average.  

Corporate America needs to take a page out of this book. When you are tempted to say, “We can’t find them” or “They don’t have the right education/experience/seasoning/track record,” understand that your value proposition is simply not sufficient to attract anyone but the white men who are already overrepresented in your human capital. 

You need to develop your own “Platinum Plan.” In other words, you need to launch a CEO-chaired executive diversity council to oversee your own metrics-driven human capital management plan. Implement a plan for “high potentials” with opportunities for mentoring and sponsorship. Communicate known repercussions for executives who cannot manage to recruit, develop and retain without bias. Apply disciplined philanthropy such as scholarships that would facilitate underrepresented groups to earn the degrees you need.

Just as with Trump’s Platinum Plan, the competition — the Democrats in this case — is likely to be doing nothing but offering public relations platitudes. When this happens, even a mediocre plan stands out. 

So how could the Democrats win both of the Senate seats in Georgia? They need a Platinum Plan. Although it is true that the Black vote is just as reliable for the Democratic Party as the white vote in the south is for the Republicans, passion drives quantity of turnout, which is how elections are won. 

Although Black American voters in Philadelphia and Atlanta were the key to the Biden win, had Trump behaved credibly with Black Americans in the past four years, he just might have won. The Democrats should take a lesson Donald Trump taught to heart: Create your own Platinum Plan. If you do, you’ll have a chance of winning in Georgia in January 2021. And if you show demonstrable progress in your plan, you’ll be able to keep the House in 2022.

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