This week Trump has seemingly been attempting to court African American votes by appealing directly to black voters and addressing what he sees as the problems of the black community. Did he speech in black communities? Traditionally African American churches or colleges? No, he has been speaking to 99% white audiences in largely white areas. For example, he unveiled this new tack in Dimondale, MI, which is 92.7% white and only 0.7% black according to the 2010 census.
But is Trump appealing to the black community? His polling is dismal with African American voters, somewhere south of 7% nationally and as low as 1% in some key areas. Is he really attempting to persuade them by giving an ignorant and exaggerated stereotype of urban “war zones?”
“Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen,” Trump said to nearly all white audience in Akron, OH on Monday. “You can go to war zones in countries that we’re fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities. They’re run by the Democrats.”
He added a few adjectives from his previous statement where he posited the following in 92.7% white Dimondale, MI where he asked “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?” he said. “You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”
In painting this picture of war torn squalor and post-apocalyptic chaos, Trump is aiming his message not at the African American community, but directly at the white voters. He is simultaneously trying to prove to educated white voters that he is not racist by at least acknowledging that African Americans exist, while reinforcing what white supremacists already think about black communities.
“Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living,” he said. “We’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot.” To a white supremacist that sounds like increasing police presence in African American neighborhoods. “I know police in Chicago,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly. “If they were given the authority to do it, they would get it done.” Sounds like a call to for a real police crack down on those communities, doesn’t it? Something that the small cadre of supremacist Trump can really get behind.
Maybe this theory on appealing to white supremacists is giving Trump too much credit. What does seem more logical is that he is attempting to tell the educated white voters who traditionally vote Republican that he isn’t racist. He just did it in the most pandering way possible, reducing the complex problems of the African American community to a set of negative stereotypes. That doesn’t really prove that he isn’t a racist, and in fact probably does more to point to how ignorant he really is.