On Tuesday, Trump campaign senior advisor Katrina Pierson revealed that O’Shea Jackson, the rapper better known as Ice Cube, worked with the Trump administration in the development of the president’s $500 billion Platinum Plan for Black America. Ice Cube later clarified that both the Republicans and the Democrats expressed interest in his Contract With Black America (CWBA), but the Trump campaign worked with Ice Cube before the election, while Democrats said they would address CWBA after November 3.
“Shoutout to [Ice Cube] for his willingness to step up and work with [the Trump] Administration to help develop the [Platinum Plan],” Pierson tweeted. “Leaders gonna lead, haters gonna hate. Thank you for leading!”
Leaders gonna lead, haters gonna hate. Thank you for leading! ✊🏾
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) October 13, 2020
Ice Cube clarified that he was not endorsing the president’s campaign, but he did work with the Trump administration in order to help black America.
“Facts: I put out the CWBA. Both parties contacted me. Dems said we’ll address the CWBA after the election. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA,” Ice Cube tweeted.
Facts: I put out the CWBA. Both parties contacted me. Dems said we’ll address the CWBA after the election. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA.
— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 14, 2020
“They moved their agenda a lot because of what we said,” Ice Cube said of the Republicans in a video explaining his position. “We gotta just push whoever’s in there ‘cuz there’s nobody who’s really solved our problems. People say we can’t take another four years of this. Black people, we can take anything.”
“The Democrats, I believe they owe us. Will they do right by us at the end of the day, who knows?” Ice Cube added.
— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 11, 2020
Ice Cube helped the Trump administration absorb part of the CWBA into the Platinum Plan. Trump’s plan aims to “increase access to capital in black communities by almost $500 billion” by creating 500,000 black-owned businesses and 3 million new jobs for the black community.
Ice Cube’s willingness to work with the Trump administration does not amount to an endorsement of the president. Rather, it represents a rebuke to Joe Biden and the Democrats, who seem to take the black community for granted. Ice Cube seems to have decided that black Americans cannot count on Biden to be better than Trump, so they should be willing to work with whoever is in power, rather than playing the identity politics game.
This is a smart strategy, as it requires both Democrats and Republicans to try to win black voters.
Even before Ice Cube’s decision to work with Trump, some polls suggested that black voters are moving toward the president.
According to a Harry Enten analysis of 10 polls, President Donald Trump is picking up steam among the black community, taking support that once went to third-party candidates in 2016. This shift might translate to about 0.5 percent of the vote nationwide, which does not seem significant — but in a close race, it could make the difference.
Some polls have shown Trump’s approval among black voters doubling since 2016. In the recently-released book 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 January. Eberle argued that “Blexit” rallies against Democrats and the historically low unemployment rate for black Americans before the pandemic might represent a growing trend among black voters dissatisfied with Democrats.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.