‘Awakening’: Black voters ‘abandoned’ by Democrats warm to Trump

Former NFL player Jack Brewer once raised campaign money for President Barack Obama, but now he’s among the increasing number of black voters who support President Trump. “There is an awakening going on right now in the country,” Mr. Brewer said of black voters who traditionally support Democrats. “I’m going to take the guy who’s actually putting in the policies that are going to make life better for my young black son and my young black daughter, versus somebody who gives me lip service — like, unfortunately, the Democrats have done for our community for years.” Mr. Trump and his reelection team are aggressively courting black voters amid a strong economy that has reduced black unemployment to 5.5%, lowest in history. The Trump campaign launched its “Black Voices for Trump” coalition in Atlanta last month. “The Democrats have let you down,” Mr. Trump told black supporters at the time. “They’ve dismissed you. They’ve hurt you. They’ve sabotaged you for far too long.” The campaign also has paid for full-page, full-color advertisements promoting Mr. Trump in 11 local black newspapers across the nation, and radio spots on urban radio stations nationwide. There’s some evidence that the president’s policies and campaign outreach are making inroads with black voters. Three polls in November showed Mr. Trump’s job-approval rating among black voters in the 30% to 35% range, a significant increase over other surveys that have generally shown black voter support of less than 10%. “I’ll remind you, the president received 8% of the black vote in 2016,” said a senior Trump campaign official. The president and his campaign advisers know that poll numbers and approval ratings don’t always translate into votes, but they think Mr. Trump has a good chance to significantly increase the level of support he receives from black voters in 2020. “If you look at how they attacked him for being a racist during the [2016] campaign, I think his policies have [produced] results for the black community that have been extraordinary,” the campaign official said during a recent briefing. Said another Trump adviser, “One thing the president’s done is to try to govern for everybody. Even those who didn’t vote for him in the last election are now seeing a lot of results in their communities, and we’re seeing the poll numbers amongst all those groups grow in a way that creates a lot of opportunities.” Trump advisers point to other policies that are helping, such as criminal justice reform that lets more offenders win early release from prison and a second chance, and increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Mr. Brewer, a lifelong Democrat and entrepreneur who played for three NFL teams, said Mr. Trump is working much harder than any Republican candidate in his lifetime to reach out to black voters. “Donald Trump will get over 20% of the black vote,” Mr. Brewer said in an interview. “That is what’s going to win the election. Why? Because there hasn’t been a Republican to even try to go in and talk to the black community. They don’t go there. They don’t even try. I think he’s trying, finally.”

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