How does the Trump campaign plan to win re-election? Moving black voters into the Republican camp. The case for this unlikely strategy is laid out in “Coming Home: How Black Americans Will Re-Elect Trump,” a book that has already become a blueprint for the Trump political team.
The authors are Vernon Robinson III, a black Air Force officer and former socialist, and Bruce Eberle, a prominent political strategist and direct mail specialist. Both played major roles in Ben Carson’s presidential bid in 2016.
They argue that black voters put Mr. Trump into the White House, having received “more than 20 percent of the black vote in the key state of Pennsylvania.” Black precincts went overwhelmingly for Hillary, but the low-income and welfare recipients who inhabit those precincts make up just one-fifth of the state’s black population.
The remaining 78.8 percent, “who are working and above the poverty line,” the authors observe, weighed in heavily for Mr. Trump, giving him his win. They also stress that black voters gave Mr. Trump his margin of victory in Michigan. Even more encouraging, say the authors, ”is the steady exodus of black Americans from the ranks of the Democratic party.” A Washington Post headline is telling: “4.4 million 2012 Obama voters stayed home in 2016 — more than a third of them black.”
Approval of the president rose to 34 percent among registered black voters in November, according to the respected Emerson Poll, double the number received just a month earlier. Rasmussen came up with a similar finding. The mid-November Marist Poll handed Trump 33 percent among non-white adults. Other respected pollsters have him at half this number, but far above the 8 percent figure in 2016.
The movement to Donald Trump turns on this fact: Nearly 52 percent of black Americans are in the middle class, with another 3 percent having become wealthy. For young, upwardly mobile black Americans, Messrs. Robinson and Eberle state, “their concerns aren’t economic survival, racism and personal danger, but personal achievement and upward economic growth.”
The trend can be seen in the growing number of blacks who are now openly defending Mr. Trump and the GOP. High profile black Americans like Dr. Carson, Kanye West, Jason Riley, Candace Owens, and Diamond and Silk have encouraged others to wear MAGA hats and raucously cheer the president at his rallies. While outspoken conservative blacks were a rarity in the early ’90s, hundreds of conservative leaning black Americans are now featured on TV, write for influential publications and run businesses. They are also getting elected.
There’s another reason why African-Americans have been drawn to President Trump. So many of his policies benefit black Americans: lowest level of black unemployment ever, fast-rising wages, opportunity zones designed to save inner cities, the crack down on illegal immigration (which protects black workers), the release of non-violent criminals from jail and the stunning rise of the stock market. (Nor does the president have the baggage conservatives carried ever since Barry Goldwater, the Republican standard bearer in 1964, opposed the groundbreaking civil rights bill that passed before the November election.)
Efforts to win the black vote are intense. In 2018, three super PACs — Stars & Stripes Forever, America’s PAC and Black Americans for the President’s Agenda — spent in excess of $1 million on ads over radio stations in key states pitching the Republican message to black audiences. The result: Black votes for GOP candidates not only went up, but increased enough for Republicans to pick up two U.S. Senate seats.
“The impact of this radio blitz,” the authors write, “was especially evident in Missouri, where all three super PACs ran ads for Josh Hawley [the winner] and against Claire McCaskill in the U.S. Senate race. Thanks to these ads, Hawley more than doubled black voter support over the GOP candidate in 2012.” In Tennessee, where America’s PAC ran five weeks of ads on urban contemporary radio stations, Marsha Blackburn, running as a Trumper, became the state’s first woman senator by doubling her black support from 7 percent to 14 percent.
The success of advertising over radio stations popular with black Americans was confirmed in the 2014 North Carolina Senate race, pitting challenger Thom Tillis, a Republican, against incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. Six years previously, Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole received just 1 percent of the black vote in losing to Hagen.
Mr. Tillis’ support rested at that anemic level until the National Draft Ben Carson for President Commttee ran daily radio ads for Mr. Tillis. Mr. Tillis won, picking up 11 percent of the black vote statewide.
Kentucky is the latest example of how a black conservative Republican can win. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, an unpopular political figure, narrowly lost to his Democratic challenger on Nov. 5, but Republicans swept five of the six statewide offices, four by landslide margins.
Daniel Cameron, running for the attorney general post, won close to 58 percent of the vote (823,000) to his opponent’s 42 percent (602,000), becoming the first African-American ever to win a race for that state’s office and the first Republican to do so in more than 70 years.
Will enough black voters turn out to give the president a second term? Maybe not, but Messrs. Eberle and Robinson have made an impressive case.
• Allan H. Ryskind, a former editor and owner of Human Events, is the author of “Hollywood Traitors” (Regnery, 2015).