As Trump Tries Minority Outreach, Many Blacks Unconvinced

Bill Barrow and Errin Haines Whack, Associated Press, August 24, 2016

Black Republicans cheer Donald Trump for a newfound outreach to African-Americans, but say the GOP presidential nominee must take his message beyond arenas filled with white supporters and venture into the inner cities.

Many rank-and-file black voters, meanwhile, dismiss the overtures as another racially charged pitch from a campaign aimed exclusively at whites, from Trump’s emphasis on “law and order” to his withering critiques of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black chief executive. It was Trump in 2011 who fiercely challenged Obama’s U.S. birth.

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Trump is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi, an 80 percent African-American city and capital of the state with the nation’s highest proportion of black residents. It is unclear whether he will address black voters directly; so far, his appeal to them has been delivered before white audiences in mostly white cities.

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Trump has previously rejected high-profile speaking slots at the NAACP’s annual gathering, along with events sponsored by the Urban League and the National Association of Black Journalists.

“He’s got to take his arguments to the streets,” said Brandon Berg, a black pastor who drove Monday from Youngstown, Ohio, to hear Trump at the University of Akron. Berg said he’s an outlier: an undecided black Republican. For most African-Americans, Berg said, Trump must “meet them where they are.”

Trump has scheduled an event Thursday billed as a roundtable with black and Latino leaders invited to his New York offices, and his aides say he is considering more rallies in heavily minority cities in swing states. {snip}

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In Wisconsin, he declared to minorities: “You live in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed? What the hell do you have to lose?” He argues illegal immigration disproportionately affects economic opportunities of blacks and Hispanics.

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