Donald Trump and the Black Vote

By Faye Anderson
Volume 27, Number 2 (Winter 2017)
Issue theme: "Importing diseases"

The pundits and pollsters who predicted Donald Trump would lose are now wondering, “What happened?” They are particularly at a loss to understand Trump’s support among black voters. So let me help them out.

I had long predicted that Trump would receive more support among African Americans than reflected in the polls. The reason: illegal immigration. I have been writing about illegal immigration since 2005. Until President Barack Obama, poll after poll found that African Americans oppose amnesty. However, they muted their opposition because they are protective of the first black president.

When I’m out and about, I hear black men complain that they have been replaced by illegal immigrants on privately financed construction projects and locked out by project labor agreements on public projects.

In 2009, African Americans were shoved aside as Obama’s “shovel-ready” jobs went to illegal immigrants, union members, and unionized contractors (98 percent of black-owned construction companies are non-union). Black-owned businesses were shut out of stimulus-funded contracts.

The day before the recent election, the New York Times asked, “Are There Really Hidden Trump Voters?” The columnists smugly concluded:

Unfortunately for Mr. Trump, the respondents who appear to favor him — but not enough to say they will vote for him — are also more likely to believe that it may be better to just stay home. This result also suggests that instead of tipping the uncommitted one way or the other, late-breaking negative headlines may simply further decrease turnout among this group.

And so on Election Day, don’t be surprised if most hidden Trump supporters remain hidden.

In the privacy of the voting booth, black men who support Trump did not have to hide. They were among the cohort of voters whom Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway dubbed “undercover.” Indeed, 13 percent of black men who turned out on Election Day were “undercover” brothers.

For eight years, African Americans have had President Obama’s back. Still, I watched in disbelief as black Philadelphians cheered when he bragged that “more Americans are working, more have health insurance. Incomes are rising. Poverty is falling.” Parenthetically, Philadelphia is the poorest big city in the country. The poverty rate is 26.3 percent; nearly 37 percent of children live in poverty. Philly has the highest rate of deep poverty (12.9 percent) of the nation’s 10 most populous cities. Roughly 200,000 residents have incomes below half of the poverty line.

Former NFL safety Jack Brewer recently wrote:

Now, I’ve praised President Obama on his amazing management of the great recession as well as his consistent job growth and overall economic progress. However, that success, unfortunately, includes every race except for blacks. The unemployment rate for blacks is nearly 9 percent and remains twice that of whites.... The youth unemployment rate for blacks ages 16-24 has been over 18 percent this year and is more than double the rate of the white youth unemployment rate.

One would hope that the healthy 16-24-year-olds who make up our nation’s most underserved race would be a vibrant work force. Well, the fact is that nearly 60 percent don’t work at all.

The unfortunate reality is that a growing number of underserved blacks in this country have lost the American dream under Obama. Backing Obama’s economic policies did Hillary Clinton no favors with millennials and working class blacks when it came to jobs and the economy. Blacks also had to take into account that Hillary and Bill themselves amassed $100 million to $200 million in personal wealth.

Throw in Obamacare premiums rising at staggering rates and this had to push a number of black voters away from supporting the Clinton ticket, as they dealt with the realities of financial struggles.

I voted for a hope of making black America great again too. I voted for an end of 30 years of establishment rule in America. I voted for President Donald Trump, with hopes that God frees his mind of the bias and division long enough to do great things for blacks and all the citizens of our great nation.

I, too, voted for change. I voted for Donald Trump.

About the author

Faye M. Anderson writes from Philadelphia and is a public policy consultant and historic preservationist.