Leah Wright-Rigueur

Leah Wright-Rigueur

Historian, Author, & Political Scholar.

Trump: I’ll win the black vote, too!

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By Jane C. Timm
Donald Trump’s got another bold electoral prediction.
“I think I’m going to win – this will surprise you – I’m going to win Hispanics, and I think I’m going to win the African-American vote,” the Republican presidential candidate said Tuesday on msnbc’s “Morning Joe” when asked about a poll showing that the vast majority Latino voters have a negative view of him. “Because I create jobs and they want jobs.”
The real estate mogul lead the charge to the get President Obama to release his long form birth certificate by embracing birtherism, a conspiracy theory about the president’s citizenship with obvious racial undertones, and was widely criticized for alienating black voters prior to the 2012 general election, the last time he flirted with a presidential run.
Trump is leading in the polls and dominating media coverage; while his bombastic rhetoric has impressed the GOP base, it’s also earned him ire from many, particularly after he claimed illegal immigrants are often “rapists” and criminals. He’s repeatedly vowed to win the Hispanic vote in the wake of the international outrage over that remark, but the polls show otherwise. A NBC News/WSJ poll released yesterday found that 75% of Latinos have a negative view of Trump.
Earning the black vote would be a Herculean effort for him, according to the Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor of public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican.”

“There’s no way that’s happening,”

she told msnbc. “Talking about the jobs and the economy is going to be appealing, but the reality is that the rest of what he’s saying is deeply unappealing to black voters. His commentary on police brutality is absolutely appalling.”
She said black voters aren’t going to forget the “birther” movement, either.
“There’s a heightened sensitivity around Barack Obama with black audiences, when they see people attacking Obama on ludicrous grounds, they say, ‘they’re not just talking about Barack Obama they’re talking about me.’” she said. “This goes for [black] people who don’t like anything about Barack Obama.”
In 2014, Republicans got 10% percent of the black vote, which was actually a slight improvement on their performance with African-Americans in recent years. The party hasn’t earned more than 11% of the black vote since 1996, either.
But Trump believes he’s beloved by the African-American community (and everyone else, for that matter).
“I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks. But unfortunately, it seems that, you know, the numbers you cite are very, very frightening numbers,” he infamously said in 2011, while suggesting that African-Americans only voted for President Obama because he is black.

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