The Republican Party has a checkered past with minority voters. They instead focus on their die-hard base to get them through the election and throw minority voters bone by paying lip service to an issue that affects them. That was the standard until Donald Trump came into the picture and turned the political game upside down. Had Trump been any other politician, his career would have ended in June 2015, but it has not.
Now Leo Smith, the director of strategic engagement for the Georgia Republican Party, has made the claim that Trump can win 20 percent of the Black vote. Republican presidential nominees usually get around 12 percent of the black vote, which is where Trump now stands among black voters. So where is Trump going to make up the difference? Well, Smith believes that the party needs to revamp their outreach strategies through inclusion.
The Republican Party has done a great job with setting up the “us versus them” narrative, but now that the party is in trouble they have extended it include Black Americans. Inclusion through xenophobia seems to be Smith’s strategy by putting Black Americans against undocumented people. Smith hopes to unify the party by finding a group that white and black people can hate together.
The Republican Party has also done a great job of suppressing minority voters, so a vital part of outreach will be voter education. It will focus on getting over the obstacles that Smith’s party put in place. Voter ID laws, eliminating Sunday voting, the closing of precincts, taking people off the rolls are all things the Republican Party has done to suppress the minority vote. Smith will claim voter fraud and budget cuts as reasons but the truth of the matter is they do not want minorities to exercise their right to vote.
Smith is right about one thing, the party needs to do a better job with minority voters. They cannot continue to demonize groups to gain followers. The party needs to listen and internalize the needs of the Black and Latino communities; instead of just posing and shaking hands with people of color for the cameras. Trump will probably not get 20 percent of the Black vote, but who knows, stranger things have happened.