Recently I heard from a friend of mine, successful businessman and founder of The New American Populist (TNAP), Jeff Webb, about a meeting he had attended a in Virginia with a group of black entrepreneurs.
Not surprisingly, one of main themes that emerged from the gathering was how the attendees felt Republicans have a better message for the black community, but Democrats do a much better job of delivering messages. In most cases, they said, Republicans don’t even bother to try.
What a damning indictment on the conservative movement, at least historically.
While that may have been the case for the “typical” Republican politician, it is certainly not the case for the atypical President Trump. With the enthusiastic encouragement of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, he has been reaching out to the black community with both words and actions since before his presidency even started—and the impact is just now starting to be felt.
To put this achievement in proper perspective: Politico even published a recent story headlined “Trump shocks Black voters-by trying to get their votes.” The piece opened by citing how the Trump campaign ran a full-page ad in the Westside Gazette, a paper that proclaims itself to be “Broward County’s oldest and largest African American owned-and-operated newspaper.” Many wondered, “Why would he bother?”
The president bothers because he knows what that group of black entrepreneurs in Virginia was saying is true. Republicans have not made any inroads with the black community because they haven’t taken the time or made the efforts to do so. They have left a 13% segment of our population, one dependent upon the broken promises and welfare-state Democrats, completely untapped ever since Lyndon Johnson’s not-so-Great Society programs launched in the 1960s.
Republicans have rationalized leaving this important voting bloc completely unreached because of long-assumed campaign axioms that should be tossed aside and burned in the trash heap of establishment Republican history.
Using valuable campaign resources to reach the black community, it was thought, was considered pandering to “leftist identity politics” or simply a bad return on campaign resources.
These perspectives fail to understand that the black community is as unique as any other community in America. Would a candidate use the same pitch to the rural farmer in Iowa as he or she would to the cosmopolitan in New York City? Of course not! This isn’t pandering, it’s politics, and the return of investment could be greater than any other dollars spent in 2020.
To win national elections, and many statewide races, progressives require a supermajority of Black voters. As someone who works on college campuses all year long, I know only too well that what is true with younger voters is also true with the black community: We don’t need to win a majority; we simply need to lose by less.
And in his less than three years in office, here’s what the president can include in his pitch to Black America:
- Passed the First Step Act, a bill which disproportionately impacts Black and minority populations
- Enacted economic policies which have reduced the unemployment rate for Blacks to 5.4%, the lowest level since the measure has been followed
- Signed an Executive Order moving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) under the direct supervision of the White House so that funding and support becomes a national priority
- Created Economic Opportunity Zones, which incentivize long-term capital investment in low-income, often urban, communities
These are signature accomplishments, but even more could be done under this president if the Democrat Party, which pretends to care about the black community, would focus on working with the president instead of trying to remove him.
An example would be the new USMCA trade deal that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reluctantly was forced to approve in the House. This type of trade deal will only further improve life for laborers, agricultural workers, and hourly employees. And when employment tightens within this sector of the workforce, wages go up, which they have been faster than any other income bracket under President Trump. USMCA will accelerate this trend even more. (Next up should be school choice for black kids, but I’ll leave that for another article).
Two recent polls, one from perhaps an expected source, Rasmussen, and another from a very unexpected one, Emerson College, both put black support for Trump at or above 34 percent.
In 2016, President Trump received only 8% of the Black vote. While it is unrealistic to imagine he will win the 34% these recent polls indicated, it is just as unrealistic to imagine he will not significantly increase his vote share in 2020.
Even if this number is closer to 20 percent come election time, it would represent a tectonic shift in American politics, and it would come despite the best efforts of the mainstream media and the entertainment world trying to tell black Americans that the president is a racist.
The truth, however, is that President Trump is for all Americans, and people of all backgrounds are starting to notice.
The real question is not about the president, but about other Republican politicians. Will they be willing to follow the president’s lead? If they do, they can take what is an “event” surrounding Donald Trump’s at-the-moment surge and turn it into a durable trend.
One of Jeff’s key takeaways from that meeting with black entrepreneurs was that the challenges facing the black men and women in that room were not substantially different from the ones facing business people of any skin color. The problems that were more “race-centered” were fixable with a little bit of communication and effort.
President Trump is communicating, and he is making the effort. Perhaps that’s all that was needed from conservatives in the first place.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, the nation’s largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of The Charlie Kirk Show.