For weeks Donald Trump has offered a peculiar invitation to black voters.
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed,” Trump said during a recent rally in Dimondale, Michigan in front of an overwhelmingly white audience. “What the hell do you have to lose?”
He’s echoed similar sentiments before similar crowds in other cities to loud applause and enthusiasm.
While many in his base may have been high-fiving over Trump’s efforts to address social issues that many African-Americans face, the tone, broad generalizations and statistical bloating used by candidate Trump has had the opposite effect with blacks.
Over the last couple days Trump has taken his outreach efforts on the road. On Friday he met with community leaders in Philadelphia. On Saturday morning he’ll visit a black church in Detroit.
But his trip has been mired in skepticism and controversy since it was announced last week, when the campaign and the church’s pastor confirmed that the event was closed to the press, that Trump would not directly address congregants and that Bishop Wayne T. Jackson would conduct a closed-door interview with Trump that would air for at least a week later on the streaming television network founded by Jackson. Then on Thursday night the New York Times published a leaked list of scripted answers Trump was to give in response to Jackson’s pre-approved questions.
Hours later the Trump campaign reversed course and said that the candidate would address the audience at Jackson’s Great Faith Ministries International church for about 10 or 15 minutes.
The prospect of Trump coming to Detroit, perhaps the blackest big city in America, in an effort to reach black voters without actually engaging any black voters confounded some and angered others. Black voters in Detroit have been paying close attention to Trump’s rhetoric and his missteps during his efforts to court them.
“I’m not even sure that I would say he reached out to black folks. I think that, when you address somebody, you have to talk from their cultural perspective. I think Mr. Trump has insulted not only blacks, but everybody else,” said Alando Reeves, a political consultant. “I don’t see it as a way of engaging black folks to have an in between if you havin’ a conversation in a black community. I don’t need somebody to speak for me. So if you want to hear my opinion, then ask me.”
“I don’t see him talking about, ‘Well, this is what I plan to do for African-Americans,’ ” said Eric Fowlkes, a recent college graduate. “I just see a bunch of him trying to get get brownie points for making comments about African-Americans. And I think it’s very disrespectful.”
Polling across the country shows little-to-no African-American support for Donald Trump. Michigan is no different. Recent data shows that 88 percent of black voters say they’ll choose Democrat Hillary Clinton compared to just 8 percent for Trump.
Source: NBC News | Trymaine Lee