Tuesday July 7th, 2020 9:33PM

Trump campaign launching black outreach effort for 2020

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — During the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump stood in front of largely white crowds and asked black voters to consider, "What the hell do you have to lose?"

Four years later, the president has a new message for black voters: Look what I've delivered.

Trump and his campaign will be launching a new "Black Voices for Trump" outreach initiative in Atlanta on Friday dedicated to "recruiting and activating Black Americans in support of President Trump," according to the campaign. Much of that effort will focus on highlighting ways that African Americans have benefited from the Trump economy, according to advisers.

"Black Americans have never had a better champion than President Trump," said senior campaign adviser Katrina Pierson in a statement. She added, "Black Americans' strong support for President Trump will ensure a second term for the President."

That prediction is met with skepticism from critics, however, given Trump's consistently dismal approval rating with black voters, who overwhelmingly disapprove of the job he's doing.

Trump has spent much of the last four years engaged in racially charged attacks, going after minority members of Congress, claiming "no human being" would want to live in rat "infested," majority-minority Baltimore and claiming that there were "very fine people on both sides" of the deadly Charlottesville protest against white supremacists.

Shortly after landing in Georgia on Friday, Trump retweeted a call from one black supporter for submissions for a "#MAGACHALLENGE" competition featuring Trump-friendly rap songs. Trump said he would be announcing the winners and inviting them to the White House to meet with him and perform.

"I think black Americans are not the audience for these outreach efforts," said Theodore Johnson, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice who is an expert in race and politics. While Trump might be able to maintain the low level of black support he received in 2016, or perhaps expand it by one or two points, he sees little evidence the president can change many minds.

"I think this is not going to move the needle at all," Johnson said.

Before launching the new effort, Trump met with supporters at a fundraiser that was closed to the media. Nearby, a small group of protesters chanted, "Lock him up!" Trump is expected to raise about $3.5 million for a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign and the campaign of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. About 325 people are expected to attend.

In 2016, 6% of black voters supported Trump, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of people who participated in its polls and were confirmed to have voted. There is no indication his support is growing. Polling shows that African Americans continue to be overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of the president's performance, with his approval hovering around 1 in 10 over the course of his presidency, according to Gallup.

Yet Trump's campaign dismissed the numbers, insisting the campaign has seen favorable movement and arguing the president can increase his margins with black voters by bringing new people into the fold.

"The polls have never been favorable for Trump, and the only poll that matters is on Election Day," Pierson said.

The campaign has launched similar coalitions for women, Latinos and veterans.

Darrell Scott, a black Ohio pastor and a longtime supporter of the president who will be part of the new coalition and attend Friday's event, said that in 2015 and 2016, supporters trying to sell Trump to black voters could only point forward to share things they anticipated from Trump.

"Now that it's 2020, we're able to point backwards and to some very definitive accomplishments that the president has done," Scott said. "He delivered on promises he didn't even make."

The campaign and White House point to a list of achievements, including passage of bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, which Trump signed into law last year, along with his ongoing support for opportunity zones in urban areas and new investments in historically black colleges.

"I don't know anyone who's done that kind of work outside of the president on attacking those big issues or trying to stop drugs from coming into the neighborhood and, at the same time, giving people second chances," said Ja'Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president and one of the White House's few minority high-ranked officials.

Advisers also point to a series of economic gains, including the fact that black unemployment hit a record low last year, with fewer blacks living in poverty. But Trump and his campaign also have a tendency to exaggerate the gains, giving Trump credit for trends that were years in the making, seizing on momentary upticks, cherry-picking favorable statistics and ignoring more troubling ones, such as black home ownership and net worth.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass, D-Calif., said Thursday that contrary to Trump's claims, in the three years of his presidency, African Americans have lost a lot.

"He has never had support from African Americans, but what we know about the president is that he will lie and say that he has," said Bass, who noted that Trump rarely appears before black audiences.

"He has to identify a handful of African Americans and take them with him wherever he goes," she said.

If he were any other Republican incumbent who inherited declining unemployment numbers and was able to sustain them, Trump would have a legitimate case to make to black voters, said Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton. But "because of some of his racial pronouncements ... I think a significant percentage of African Americans are completely turned off."

A September AP-NORC poll found that only roughly 3 in 10 Americans say the things Trump has done as president have been good for African Americans. And just 4% of African Americans said they think Trump's actions have had a positive impact on African Americans in general, while 81% said they think they've been bad.

Yet even if he can't win over black voters, some suspect that's not the point. As long as the campaign can keep on-the-fence voters from casting their ballots for the eventual Democratic nominee, the campaign will be helping Trump inch closer to a second victory.

Some analysts have pointed to a precipitous drop in black turnout in 2016 as one of the reasons Trump beat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who was far less popular — especially among black men —than former President Barack Obama, the nation's first black president.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 60% of non-Hispanic blacks voted in 2016, versus about 67% in 2012. And that drop was seen in cities with significant African American populations in critical swing states that helped Trump eke out a victory.

"I do think the main objective is to discourage turnout," said Johnson. "I absolutely think this is about creating doubt in black voters' minds about the Democratic nominee" so people feel like "there's almost no one worth voting for."

And he said that fears were growing it might work.

"There is a pretty tangible fear among black Americans that Trump is going to win again because black turnout won't be enough to mute the white turnout," he said. "There's a sense that in 2020 he's going to win again."


Haines reported from Philadelphia and Colvin from Washington. Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.


Follow Colvin and Whack on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/emarvelous

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The words Trump had to hear: Investigations, Biden, Clinton
House impeachment investigators released a new transcript Thursday in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
1:04AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Trump campaign launching black outreach effort for 2020
Despite divisive rhetoric, Trump campaign launching black outreach effort
12:47AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Raiders rally to beat Chargers 26-24
Josh Jacobs scored on an 18-yard run with 1:02 remaining and the Oakland Raiders had a late winning touchdown drive for the second time in five days, beating the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24
12:46AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bloomberg opens door to 2020 Democratic run for president
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is opening the door to a 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, warning that the current field of candidates is ill equipped to defeat President Donald Trump
11:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Senior US envoy in Syria highly critical of troop withdrawal
U.S. officials say a senior State Department envoy has written a highly critical assessment of the Trump administration's abrupt withdrawal of troops from northeast Syria
10:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
House Democrats subpoena Mulvaney in impeachment probe
House Democrats have subpoenaed acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in their impeachment probe.
10:16PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Brazil top court's ruling could free ex-President Da Silva
Brazil's Supreme Court has delivered a narrow decision that could release almost 5,000 inmates still appealing their convictions, including jailed former President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva
10:31PM ( 2 hours ago )
Some in GOP warn against election challenge in Kentucky
Some Kentucky Republicans are warning Gov. Matt Bevin against mounting an election challenge to the results of his bid for a second term unless he finds evidence of massive fraud
7:23PM ( 5 hours ago )
Report: Trump migrant crackdown weighed impact on 2020 race
US cables from 2017, made public Thursday, expose the divide between career diplomats and a Trump administration eager to push through hardline immigration policies even as it apparently weighed possible fallout on the 2020 presidential race.
3:51PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Elections
Anti-Semitism charges leveled at Labour Party's Corbyn
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's election campaign has been hit by renewed claims that he is not fit to lead the country because of his tolerance of anti-Semitic attitudes
10:11AM ( 15 hours ago )
Donald Trump works up a sweat at a Louisiana campaign rally
President Donald Trump works up a sweat in a steamy Louisiana arena as he tries to boost Republican businessman Eddie Rispone's effort to unseat Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards
9:17AM ( 15 hours ago )
Kentucky: Bevin seeks vote recanvass while Beshear starts transition
Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin seeks recanvass of vote totals, as challenger Beshear prepares to take office.
8:44AM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
The words Trump had to hear: Investigations, Biden, Clinton
House impeachment investigators released a new transcript Thursday in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
1:04AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Raiders rally to beat Chargers 26-24
Josh Jacobs scored on an 18-yard run with 1:02 remaining and the Oakland Raiders had a late winning touchdown drive for the second time in five days, beating the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24
12:46AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Hong Kong student dies after fall during protest clash
A Hong Kong university student who fell off a parking garage after police fired tear gas during clashes with anti-government protesters died Friday, in a rare fatality after five months of unrest that is bound to intensify anger in the Chinese territory
12:25AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Top US diplomat struggles to shrug off impeachment inquiry
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tried to shrug off the impeachment inquiry, but he may not able to for much longer.
12:22AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Residents of Mexican town struggle with fear after massacre
Residents of Mexican town struggle with fear after massacre of 9 Americans
12:22AM ( 52 minutes ago )