With nearly 11 weeks to go before the November election, Donald Trump is trying to address the elephant in the room: his dismal standing among African-American voters.
The Manhattan billionaire’s plea has been the same – from Wisconsin, to Michigan, to North Carolina, Texas, and Mississippi. He asks black voters to give him a chance.
“What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump has been asking rhetorically since last week.
It is the first time in more than 14 months of campaigning that the real-estate mogul has looked in the direction of African-American voters en masse. Trump is making his pitch using the same vehicle that helped win him the GOP presidential nomination – big, boisterous campaign rallies, still attended by mostly white audiences.
At those rallies this week, Trump’s appeal to black voters took a curious turn – replacing “give Donald Trump a chance” with a new angle:
“Look, it is a disaster the way African Americans are living. … 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.”
Trump’s assertion that getting shot is an everyday worry for black Americans at large speaks to his most glaring weakness with this demographic – that he is out of touch with people of color, critics say.
“I hear him not talking to black people, but talking to white people about black people so they will think he cares about black people,” former Atlanta newspaper publisher Alexis Scott told The New York Times in a story published on Wednesday.