Today in Detroit, Donald Trump addressed a congregation of African-Americans as part of his latest “outreach effort” to the black community. The subdued Republican presidential candidate told the congregants, “I am here to listen to you.”
Granted, American voters tend to have short memories. As Will Rogers said, “The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.” But very few African-Americans will ever forget, or forgive, Trump’s bigoted attack on the first black president of the United States.
In 2011, Trump took the racist “birtherism” conspiracy—the belief that Obama is foreign-born and thus an illegitimate president—and turned it into a full-fledged movement. Trump famously told a Fox News audience that he had sent an army of investigators to Hawaii to determine if Obama was really born there. Trump even went so far as to say researchers “cannot believe what they are finding.”
Of course the President got the better of Trump by releasing his long form birth certificate and going on to relentlessly mock the self-described billionaire at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner that year.
The fact of the matter is African-Americans have excellent memories. According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 1 percent of black voters nationally support the Republican nominee.
With numbers like that, makes one wonder what this whole African-American outreach is all about.
It is not about appealing to blacks, that’s for sure. Trump knows he doesn’t stand a chance in hell of convincing more than a handful of black people to vote for him.
Trump’s real target with his latest effort to make nice-nice with blacks, and all non-white sectors of the electorate, is actually whites … specifically, white suburban women. Trump needs to prove to this all-important voting group that he really is not a racist. He actually loves all … blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Asians, etc. He wants to give these women an excuse to vote for him without any of that guilty conscience stuff.
It is beyond ironic that now, after years of publicly belittling women and spouting some of the most hyper-misogynistic rhetoric ever heard in a modern-day election, Trump needs women (center-right, married white) to come to his aid.
While Trump’s multi-city pander-fest may make him more palatable to some white women, he does run the risk of losing some of his otherwise reliable white blue-collar, anti-“Black Lives Matter” base.
Photo | Andrew Harnik/AP