Leondra Head | Local & World Editor
It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s poll numbers among African Americans is significantly low. According to MSNBC, African American voters tend to vote for Democratic candidates but African American Republicans go against the odds. According to the Pew Research Center, only 11 percent of Black voters identify as Republicans.
Black republicans tend to have significant conservative mindsets and are generally composed of middle class and upper middle class citizens. Although Black Republicans generally vote for GOP candidates, this year’s presidential election may be quite different. According to Radio One, many Black conservatives have become outraged by Trump’s comments toward the African American community.
In an Akron, Ohio rally, Trump described “war zone” conditions in Black and Latino neighborhoods, promising to fix them and blaming Democrats. Trump said, “Inner cities have completely failed. Poverty and Horrible education are destroying inner cities. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen.”
Some Black conservatives say Trump’s efforts fall short. Reagan Holmes, a freshman Biology major on the pre-med track from Martha’s Vineyard that identifies as a Black conservative said, “I find it quite offensive that Donald Trump has rejected the NAACP’s and The Urban League’s invitation to speak. He’s never visited any of our local black churches.” Holmes went on to say,
“If he is sincere about making an effort for our community, then he should at least be willing to come and visit us where we are.”
Trump referred to himself in third person and said, “You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats. Donald Trump can fix it. What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. What do you have to lose?”
Trump does not have any policies listed on his website to put an end to social inequality or the criminal justice system whereas his counterpart Hillary Clinton admits that Black males are three times as likely to be policed and plans to reform the broken criminal justice system if elected according to her campaign website, Hillaryclinton.com.
Trump has few surrogates to help carry his message to black communities, whereas in critical states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, recent polls show him at 1 percent among African-Americans.
A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll this July found just 7 percent of blacks called themselves Republicans, marking a more than 50 percent plunge in black support in two decades.
Trump declined the invitation to speak at The Urban League’s annual conference, a civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of African American and against racial discrimination in the United States.
William Henry, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Atlanta said, “Trump is a phenomenal business man. I come from a family full of entrepreneurs and I agree with the tax cuts he plans to put in place for major corporations. His business savvy mindset will indeed improve the economy.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Sunday, October 9 that the Republican presidential nominee plans to go directly into African-American communities to deliver his full-forced appeal to black voters.
Gizelle Harrison, a freshman Chemistry major from Atlanta shared if she plans to vote for Trump. “Absolutely not. I’m more of a Marco Rubio Republican than I am a Donald Trump Republican.” Gizelle also described Trump’s lack of addressing the racial inequality African Americans face when they are twice as likely to be policed or arrested.
Harrison said, “Trump is falsely accusing cities with large African American populations to be crime havens. With Trump, we’d lack a president who had any conception that there is a problem with policing in minority communities or any desire to bring communities and police together.”
In June, a group of Republicans displeased with the RNC’s minority outreach sent a letter to the RNC, writing that Trump had “caused massive defection, disgust, and disinterest with comments and behaviors that are offensive to the very demographics groups we need to win this election” and that their research showed the “unrealized potential for the GOP to do better among minorities in this election cycle.”
The letter annoyed prominent Black Republicans throughout the country, stating that they would have dealt with it in a less public matter.
RNC Spokesperson Telly Lovelace said, “The RNC remains committed to black outreach. The RNC has made a commitment and invested resources into engaging and building relationships across the African-American community.”