Monday, September 25, 2023

Trump uses his mugshot and four indictments to seek support from Black voters, essentially saying, "Hey, we're all criminals here, so you should vote for me"

Kanye West and Donald Trump

Donald Trump is seeking the support of Black voters by insulting them. How do we know?  It's from an article at Axios under the title "Indicted Trump claims solidarity with Black voters." Here is the gist of Trump's pitch: "I have a mugshot and four indictments, and we know that many of you have a history with the criminal-justice system, so you should identify with me and support me for president."

To Americans with a few functioning brain cells, that probably sounds a bit warped or goofy, like a joke story from The Onion. But in Trump's diseased mind, it is a legit appeal, and he apparently is serious about it. Will such a gambit work? Considering Trump is a Republican, and his party has led just about every effort to trample Black rights over the past 55-60 years, I have my doubts. In fact, Republican weakness on basic human rights for Black Americans goes back decades before the 1960s and Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign that was based largely on opposition to the Civil Rights Act. And that does not even count Trump's own documented use of racist language and dubious actions, which go back several decades before his 2016 run for president.

Black voters, it seems, are unlikely to overlook the antipathy Trump and his party have shown toward people of color over many years. That's why Trump's efforts to appeal to them now seem more than a little lame. From the Axios report, written by Mike Allen: 

Former President Trump is pushing his mug shot, arrests and criminal charges to try to claim new solidarity with Black voters — a group that has largely shunned him in elections.

Trump has latched on to a narrative promoted last month by Fox News commentators and others in conservative media — that his arrests could boost his standing among African Americans who believe the criminal justice system is unfair.

There's little evidence he's getting an indictment bump among Black voters, despite his claim that support rose after the mug shot from his arrest in Atlanta was released.

But his team believes he can make inroads with Black voters by pushing an I-am-a-victim-just-like-you storyline.

Trump claimed in a recent interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt that his poll numbers among Black voters "have gone up four and five times" since his mug shot was released.

That's not true, as CNN reported.

A statement from Donald Trump proved to be false? Now that's a shocker. Here is more from Mike Allen and Axios:

It's unclear whether Trump's favorability with Black voters has increased beyond the 8% or so share he received in 2020. (Recent polls have suggested Trump's support among Blacks is improving, but pre-election polls in 2020 overstated his support.)

In recent weeks Trump has promoted videos of Black people defending him, and senior Trump advisers have kept in touch with Black celebrities who have supported him publicly.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung posted on X a TikTok video of a 34-year-old Black man saying, "We rocking with Trump, man. Even the youth, they know what time it is."

"I just think — especially, again with the (Black) men — they're going to see through" the charges against Trump, "because they've been dealing with this for a long time," Donald Trump Jr. told Newsmax.

Some Black men might consider the criminal-justice system unfair -- and they unquestionably have a point; in fact, I would submit the entire American justice system (criminal and civil) is filled with unfairness and corruption. But does that mean Black men  are going to see Donald Trump as their ally, worthy of support at the ballot box? I doubt it. From Axios:

Black artists including Lil Pump, Kodak Black and Chief Keef have posted mugshots of themselves next to Trump's, shared supportive messages, or otherwise indicated they're rooting for him.

Keef mused that Trump would "run the prison" if he's convicted.

Another artist, Bandman Kevo, got Trump's image tattooed on his leg.

Several artists have pointed to actions Trump took while in office, including passing the First Step Act and PPP loans, as reasons for their support.

Critics of the former president see irony in his push for African Americans' support.

Trump is charged in Fulton County, Georgia, with trying to overturn the 2020 election results. The charges stem from an alleged conspiracy in which Trump's team sought to invalidate votes in heavily Black urban areas across the country after the election.

Democratic pollsters doubt that Trump's support among a few Black artists will help him significantly. A bigger issue in a general election matchup against President Biden could be Biden's slipping numbers with non-white voters who don't have college degrees.

"The best way to describe (Trump's) political efforts here is pissing in windmills," former South Carolina state Rep. Bakari Sellers told Axios.

"I love Kodak. I love his music, but that doesn't mean that his thoughts on Donald Trump are going to be pervasive."

In the 2020 election, Trump also got support from several Black artists, including Ice Cube, Lil Wayne and Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).

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