Donald Trump Makes Another Plea to Black Voters

August 22nd 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump expanded his pitch to black voters on Monday, promising to eradicate gun violence in high-crime communities where, he suggested, most minorities live. Rather than outline specific policies to achieve this goal, however, the Republican presidential nominee relied on generalizations about black voters.


As it stands, only two percent of black voters support Trump, compared to Hillary Clinton's 83 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. In a bid to attract black voters in the lead up to Election Day, Trump has attempted to engage black voters during recent campaign event.

"What the hell do you have to lose?" Trump asked at a campaign rally in Akron, Ohio, addressing black and Hispanic voters. He pledged to increase job opportunity, revive the "spirit" of minority communities, and slash violent crime.

"We'll get rid of the crime. You'll be able to walk down the street without being shot," Trump said. "Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot. Look at the statistics. We'll straighten it out."

Black people are disproportionately affected by gun violence, compared to white Americans. And black people are affected by poverty and unemployment at higher rates than white people. However, three in four black Americans don't live in poverty, The Washington Post reports. That statistic — that one quarter of black Americans live in poverty — is still staggering, of course, but Trump has repeatedly implied in his outreach efforts that these issues affect all black voters.

But here's the thing: his message falls short of offering an actionable solution.


Yes, black voters care about gun violence, but they overwhelmingly support gun reform policies to address the issue.

If Trump plans to win 95 percent of the black vote (which he promised he would after his first term as president), then it might be prudent to follow up his campaign pledges with policy proposals that black voters support. In this case, pushing for universal background checks for gun buyers might lend credence to his pitch. (However, Trump counts the NRA as a major supporter.)

Eighty percent of black voters consider gun violence an "extremely serious problem," according to a 2016 survey from the Benenson Strategy Group. And 92 percent said they support universal background checks for gun buyers to reduce gun violence in America.

gun violence

There are other problems with Trump's efforts to win over black voters less than 100 days from Election Day, of course; the racially charged rhetoric that has defined his campaign has arguably alienated minorities voters, and there's also the fact that black voters historically vote Democrat. But his most recent efforts to sell a vision of crime-free streets to minority voters lacks policy specifics.

RELATED: Here's Why Doctors Can't Call Gun Violence a Public Health Issue