Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Trump’s Appeal to Black Voters Causing Panic in Biden Camp

'I’m not surprised that Joe Biden right now starts off underperforming among young voters and voters of color. I’d be surprised if he didn’t...'

(Headline USA) As he seeks the presidency for a third time, GOP frontrunner Trump is aiming to win over black voters, building on the historic inroads he made in 2020 with both blacks and Hispanic communities, while capitalizing further on the outrage over President Joe Biden’s war on urban communities via his open-border policies and inflation.

“Have you seen our poll numbers with African Americans and with Hispanic Americans?” Trump declared during a rally in Atkinson, New Hampshire, days before the state’s primary.

“But I’m not that surprised because I see it, I feel it,” he added. “We did great in 2016, we did much better in 2020 but there is much more enthusiasm now.”

Since 2013, the Republican National Committee has established outreach centers focused on minority areas; there are currently 38 such outposts in 19 states catering to various communities. The GOP plans to add two more outreach centers in 2024.

While remain overwhelmingly supportive of President Joe Biden, even a small shift could upend the entire calculus in the election, particularly with Trump polling ahead by narrow margins in most major swing states.

Blue enclaves like Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Philadelphia proved to be the focal points in the 2020 race as many of the outlying rural areas supported the then-incumbent Trump.

Regardless of whether vote fraud and ballot-harvesting played a role, a greater Republican presence in the cities—as well as places like Chicago, Denver and New York City, which have all been plagued by illegal immigration, crime and homelessness—would make it that much more difficult for far-left voting officials to deliver their respective states.

For Biden, the biggest concern is that such voters simply don’t show up at all.

Nationally, only 50% of black adults said they approve of Biden in a December AP-NORC poll, down from 86% in July 2021.

That shift represents a larger drop than among adults overall and white adults in particular. Only 25% of black adults said they have a favorable view of Trump.

However, that is still about a 10% jump from what Trump saw heading into the last presidential election, when a July 2020 poll showed him averaging 16% favorability among black Americans.

That, in turn, marked a sea change over previous GOP presidential contenders including George W. Bush (average 11%), Mitt Romney (6%) and John McCain—who, when running against Barack Obama as he stood poised to become the first black president—received a paltry 4%.

There now remains a risk that if Biden were to drop out this spring in favor of former first lady Michelle Obama, black voters would again rally around her, putting identity politics ahead of concerns over immigration and the economy.

Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster, noted that Obama faced challenges similar to Biden with young voters and voters of color during his 2012 reelection campaign, when many in the Democrats’ base were frustrated by his perceived slow pace of progress on key goals.

“I’m not surprised that Joe Biden right now starts off underperforming among young voters and voters of color. I’d be surprised if he didn’t. But that’s what campaigns are for,” Belcher said.

“I’m not panicked that he is down 15 points from where he should be with these voters,” he added. “Because I’ve seen this play before. I’ve seen it with Barack Obama.”

Still, the bigger padding of support that Trump builds among disaffected minority voters now, the more difficult it will be for Democrats to convert them when they reveal who their actual candidate will be.

Trump’s campaign advisers insist they’re aiming to jump on such shifts to spur a political realignment that would upend the Democratic Party’s decades-long advantage with black voters.

“We are creating a massive problem for the Democratic Party’s base that … could be altering for a generation,” said Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser on the Trump campaign. “That’s just an opportunity that we would be remiss if we didn’t exploit.”

In some ways it echoes the concerted effort that former President Lyndon B. Johnson made in the 1960s, when he abandoned the party’s longtime pro-segregation stance and aligned with communist black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. to push his “Great Society” agenda, turning lower-income blacks dependent on the state for welfare.

But rather than pander, Republicans hope to show black Americans the benefits of being free from the plantation-mentality of codependency that Democrats have long fostered and shift toward a more positive message of black prosperity as a byproduct of American prosperity.

Trump often highlights endorsements from black celebrities, including rappers like Kanye West and Lil Wayne, as evidence of his appeal to the black community. He recently touted the endorsement of a Rhode Island activist who had helped co-found the state chapter of the pro-Marxist group Black Lives Matter.

When he won the New Hampshire primary this week, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.—currently, the longest-serving black senator and one of only four in the entire chamber—stood prominently behind him. Scott, who once challenged Trump for the GOP nomination, has emerged as one of his most prominent surrogates and speaks often about his record on race.

As Trump closes in on the Republican nomination, his vice presidential pick could be a key opportunity to try to expand his appeal beyond the party’s base. Scott is among those who are frequently mentioned as a potential running mate for Trump. Trump’s former HUD secretary, Ben Carson, is also in the mix. So is businessman Vivek Ramaswamy—who, like Scott, endorsed Trump after dropping out of the primary race himself.

However, Biden and his fellow Democrats aren’t ceding black voters to Trump so easily. Biden “won’t rest until we earn every vote because the stakes are that high,” Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison said of the 81-year-old president, who frequently takes lengthy vacations from the White House and, thus far, has had relatively few campaign events after freezing out any serious primary competition.

The president—despite having offended blacks on several occasions with racially insensitive remarks—is now in full-fledged pander mode and has gone heavy on the demagoguery attempting to vilify his GOP rival as a “threat to democracy.”

Biden kicked off his reelection bid earlier this month at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where in 2015—during the Obama administration—nine Black parishioners were shot to death by the white stranger they had invited to join their Bible study.

During his visit, Biden denounced the “poison” of white supremacy in America and noted some of the accomplishments of his administration, including the appointment of Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Democrats have, nonetheless, waged a vicious and well-funded smear-campaign attacking the court’s other black justice, Clarence Thomas.

Biden has also upended his party’s election calendar to put South Carolina at the start— instead of predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire—in the hopes that the state’s large black population will help deliver him a safe victory instead of a potentially embarrassing defeat against his relatively unknown intra-party challengers.

And in contrast to past Democratic efforts, the Biden campaign has opted for an early engagement strategy with core constituencies like black voters. The campaign rolled out large investments in African American media and other outreach in key swing states.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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