His share of the black vote in 2016 was respectable. Even a small increase could put him over the top.
If his State of the Union address and Super Bowl commercial are any indication, President Trump is serious about increasing his support among black voters in November. He may or may not succeed, but we’re a long way from his cynical “What the hell do you have to lose?” pitch to blacks in 2016.
Mr. Trump outperformed John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012 among black voters, as administration officials never tire of reminding us. But that had less to do with Mr. Trump’s personal appeal and more to do with Barack Obama’s absence on the ballot in 2016. In recent decades, GOP presidential nominees have averaged around 12% of the black vote. Mr. Trump won only 8%, which is the worst performance of any Republican presidential candidate since 1976, except for Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney.
The best black outreach is strong economic growth, and the president is right to highlight the low unemployment rates and steady pay increases that have redounded to black workers’ benefit during his administration. Last year, median wage growth among blacks was higher than it was for whites. There is no denying that black Americans on balance are better off economically today than they were four years ago or at any point under the previous administration. If presidents deserve credit for such developments, give Mr. Trump his due.
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