When Donald Trump began his outreach efforts to black and Hispanic voters, liberals in the mainstream media reacted with amusement, hostility, or a bit of both.
Writing for The Atlantic in August, David A. Graham declared that Trump’s “approach [to black voters] seems doomed to failure.” According to Graham, Trump’s focus on economic issues won’t work with blacks because “black Americans lean liberal and simply disagree with his signature policies.”
“It’s the largest shift we’ve seen in a one-week period since we began polling in July.”
“It’s hard to imagine what he could do at this point to dramatically change his polling,” Graham wrote.
Dara Lind, writing for Vox, argued that Trump’s minority outreach had nothing to do with reaching out to minorities, and that it was “probably too little too late.”
The real reason for the outreach, Lind wrote, was that “wavering Republicans are still looking for a reason to vote Trump. And Trump’s show of racial unity is what they need to feel that, once again, Republicans have the high ground when it comes to race and identity.”
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Bob Cesca, writing for The Daily Banter, went even further, declaring confidently that “Trump’s outreach to African-Americans is actually a dog-whistle to his white nationalist base.”
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Given the confident certainty of these wise, prescient writers, one can only imagine their utter horror at witnessing the results of the Los Angeles Times weekly tracking poll this weekend, which showed Trump up 16.5 points among black voters over just the course of a single week.
Between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16, Trump’s support from black voters increased from just over 3 percent to 19.6 percent. Hillary Clinton’s support among blacks declined from 90.4 percent to 71.4 percent over the same period.
“It’s the largest shift we’ve seen in a one-week period since we began polling in July,” said Dan Schnur, director of University of Southern California’s Institute of Politics, which produces the tracking poll in conjunction with the LA Times.
African-American voters may not be the only traditionally Democratic constituency wavering in its support for Clinton. “Among Democrats, deep concern about Clinton’s Hispanic strategy,” read the headline of the lead story in The Washington Post Monday.
Trump’s minority outreach began in earnest in the final days of August, a two-pronged attack in which the real estate mogul stressed simultaneously the Democrats’ failed inner city legacy and their arrogant assumption that the votes of the black community are theirs by default.
“The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community,” Trump said in a speech outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Democratic crime policies, education policies, and economic policies have produced only more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty,” he added.
Soon after, he called Clinton “a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future,” at a rally in Jackson, Mississippi.
Liberals may have been wont to see such outreach as somehow offensive or inevitably doomed to failure — but it was they who failed to understand that the key to Trump’s message to the black community wasn’t its bluntness, but the fact he was sending a message to the black community to begin with.
“To reach the black community you have to speak to them directly,” Bishop E.W. Jackson, head of Exodus Faith Ministries and founder of S.T.A.N.D., told LifeZette at the time. “Donald Trump is the first candidate for president in my memory who has done that,” Jackson said. “So I think he has a better chance than most Republicans.”
The recent LA Times tracking poll results suggest that not only are black voters listening to Trump’s message — despite liberals’ apparent belief that black people are genetically programmed to vote for the Democratic Party — but that many also like what they hear.