He can do better with black voters than he did in 2016, but it’s a tall order—and he needs to pick his spots.
The Republican Party’s pitch to black voters on national television this week is encouraging, which is not the same thing as saying that it will be effective.
In 2016, millions of working-class Americans who had supported Barack Obama chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, but not many blacks were among them. Unlike suburban women or Hispanics, blacks are not swing voters. They tend to vote Democratic or stay home. It’s often said that this allows the party to take them for granted, which is true. But it’s even worse than that. It means that Democrats focus their energies on keeping black people angry and paranoid, not on improving black lives. Democratic politicians typically don’t run on what they’ve done for blacks. They run on how much worse things will be if their Republican opponent wins.
The strategy has been extremely effective for Democrats over the past half-century, but it has left the black communities they represent with high unemployment, violent crime, homelessness, failing schools, and political leaders who are seldom held accountable for any of it. Congressional Black Caucus members are regularly elected with huge percentages of the vote. According to the Washington Post, in 2018 there were 17 House members who ran unopposed and nearly half (eight) were members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
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