Black voters, long considered a lock for the Democratic Party, may give President Donald Trump a re-election victory in 2020, a new book argues. In Coming Home: How Black Americans Will Re-Elect Trump, black former Air Force officer Vernon Robinson and conservative pollster Bruce Eberle predict that Trump could win as much as 20 percent of the black vote in key swing states — as he already did, they argue, in Pennsylvania in 2016.
“Democrats have been telling black voters year after year after year that all Republicans are racist. I would be willing to bet that in those swing states if we point out that the Democrats are really racist, we will win more than 20 percent of the black vote,” Eberle told PJ Media in an interview Monday.
To bolster his case, Eberle drew comparisons between 2020 and the election of 1936, in which the black vote — long reliably Republican — shifted decisively in favor of Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Good Neighbor League Colored Committee rallied support for FDR that year, and Eberle compared the Good Neighbor rallies to the Blexit rally for Trump last January in Los Angeles.
“Roosevelt in 1936 knew that he couldn’t convince people to vote for Democrats down-ballot, because they were the racist party,” he explained. FDR had a far greater party disadvantage to overcome because Democrats were the party of the KKK. “FDR asked for their vote as a person. He didn’t ask them to become Democrats.” He also featured black delegates at the Democratic National Convention, invited a black pastor to speak, and allowed black and white reporters in the same press pool — something unheard of at the time.
A similar strategy may help Trump in 2020, and recent elections have shown that Republicans can successfully court black voters.
Two months before the 2014 election in North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis was polling at 1 percent support among blacks. Six weeks before the election, however, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee began airing radio ads. By Election Day, Tillis won 11 percent of the black vote. In areas where the ads ran, it seems he won 18 percent, according to the book.
Similarly, radio ads aimed at black voters in Pennsylvania boosted Donald Trump. Approximately 21 percent of black voters in that crucial swing state (more than 140,000 people) voted for the Republican, providing him with his margin of victory.
In 2018, radio ads targeted at black voters in key House and Senate races drove up the black vote for Republicans. Josh Hawley more than doubled black voter support compared to the Republican candidate in 2012. Marsha Blackburn doubled her black voter support from 7 percent to 14 percent in the five weeks before Election Day.
Eberle highlighted many reasons why black voters might consider Trump, especially when it comes to the younger generation.
“This generation has not gone through any civil rights struggles, they haven’t had their lives threatened, they haven’t felt discrimination. Their concerns are completely different than those of their grandparents,” he said. “They’re concerned about, ‘How do I get upward mobility? How do I advance in my career?'”
“When I first came into the conservative movement in the 1960s, there were few black Americans who were conservative. But today, you have this rally in LA with a thousand black Americans cheering for Trump. We have people like Kanye West — I don’t think we can overestimate the impact of Kanye West,” Eberle insisted.
He noted that the common narrative of Republicans being racist dates back to 1964, when Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater — who had taken many public stances for civil rights to help black Americans — voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Then came the repeated insistence that Republicans spoke in “coded language,” appealing to racists.
“‘Goldwater spoke in coded language. Trump uses dog whistles.’ It’s all make-believe stuff, smoke signals,” Eberle explained. “When it comes to Democrat racism, it’s real racism. Planned Parenthood targets black babies. Democrats deny access to high-quality schools in poor areas, which is the key to escaping poverty. It’s racism when you support illegal immigration, open borders.”
“Democrats’ agenda does not coincide with the agenda of most black Americans anymore,” Eberle insisted. “They’re very much looking to see if there’s an option of not supporting the Democrats.”
He mentioned many specific issues where black Americans disagree with Democratic priorities: the comparison between LGBT issues and the civil rights movement, immigration, the rising price of gasoline, and more.
“Illegal immigration, they see that as a real threat,” he argued. “Immigrants drive down their wages, and they will lose their jobs. This hurts them in terms of not allowing them to climb the economic ladder.”
“When the Left gets on board with this Green New Deal and they want to raise the price of gasoline — when you raise the price of energy for any poor family, regardless of their race, you are really hurting them,” he said. “When Democrats are willing to raise energy prices in search of this ‘solving all the world’s temperature issues,’ they’re willing to sacrifice black people.”
“They don’t care about black people. They see them as voters, not as human beings,” Eberle said. “They don’t care about helping them escape poverty and rise up the economic ladder. Why are the liberals so silent when it comes to the deaths of young black men in Chicago and Baltimore and other cities? They don’t care.”
The conservative strategist insisted that it is not enough to find issues on which Republicans agree with black voters. They need to go on the offensive. “What you really have to say is not only, ‘I am not guilty,’ but ‘My opponent is the racist.'”
Eberle referenced recent polls placing black support for Trump at 34 percent. “Do I expect it to be 34 percent on Election Day 2020? No, I don’t. But I do think it will be at least 20 percent.”
Trump has a chance with black voters in part due to his star power. “When Trump was on The Apprentice, the support from the black community percentage-wise was stronger than it was from the white community,” he said. “There were a lot of black people on that show and they love seeing them rise to be successful in business.”
Eberle also insisted that the first black billionaire, BET founder Robert Johnson, made a big impact by praising Trump’s success on the economy. He also referenced black pastor Darrell Scott, who has called Trump “the most pro-black president in our lifetime.” Scott has gone on to become the CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.
When it comes to going on the offensive against Democrats, Eberle referenced a few damning quotes from liberal leaders Trump can use. He noted that Hillary Clinton referred to black people as “super predators,” that Joe Biden called Barack Obama “the first mainstream African American who’s articulate, bright, and clean,” racist comments from Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger, and more.
Black Americans are rejecting the Democratic Party, and Trump cannot afford to leave their votes on the table. Regardless of whether the book’s prediction is right, Eberle and Robinson have made an excellent case for the president courting the black vote.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.