Earlier this week, reports suggested a surprising upturn in the fate of The Donald. Trump’s favorability among black Americans has increased drastically. While the majority of blacks still have an unfavorable view towards the president, there is evidence that a significant number have had a change in heart.
Needless to say, the establishment media is not happy about this finding. The Washington Post, The New York Times, as well as several other news outlets quickly honed in on the president’s slightly exaggerated claim that his support among blacks has “doubled” (it was one percent shy). Of course, they haven’t yet published any pieces exploring why there has been a very significant rise.
If the president continues to perform as he has been, it is highly likely that his support will increase even more.
The Evolution Of Black Americans’ Assessment
The Atlantic collaborated with SurveyMonkey to poll 600,000 Americans to determine their level of support for the president. Their results regarding blacks are as follows:
23% of black men approved of the president’s performance.
11% of black women approved of Trump’s performance.
17% of both black males and black females approved of Trump.
When Trump was elected, he received only 8% of the black vote, which was still higher than previous Republican presidents. As of December of last year, his support among blacks was 15%. While black Americans’ view of the president has risen and fallen since he was elected, it is clear that it is far higher than it was when he won the election.
Defining the Shift
It’s not easy to identify the exact reasons for this shift — none of the major news outlets have made a significant effort to speak with black Trump supporters to ascertain the reasons for their support. However, there are indications that could give us more insight into the thoughts of black Trump supporters.
The Atlantic seems to be the only publication that has bothered to get into the minds of black Trump voters. Theodore R. Johnson, in a piece written for the magazine, reached out to blacks who supported Trump. According to Johnson, they indicate that the typical black Trump supporter “is likely to be a working-class or lower-middle-class black man over the age of 35. These are individuals who are “interested in alternative approaches to addressing what ails black America.”
Black Trump supporters are more attracted to messages of self-determination and personal responsibility. They are less likely to view the government as an entity that cares about their needs. In general, these are people who are more likely to consider Republican candidates than other black Americans. “They are slightly more likely to vote for candidates who extol hard work over federal programs and who offer economic opportunity as a way to address racial inequality rather than new civil-rights legislation,” Johnson writes.
People on the left — and to a lesser extent, conservatives, assume that black voters are primarily concerned with “black issues.” They erroneously believe that blacks focus mainly on police brutality, affirmative action, and crime. While these are certainly important issues to the black community, these individuals are also concerned about the economy, taxes, illegal immigration, and foreign policy as well. Indeed, most blacks are more likely to be concerned about job creation than they are about affirmative action. It is this issue that could be a significant contributor to the changing attitudes towards the president.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the black unemployment rate dropped another 1% to the lowest it has been in 40 years. This may not seem like a major decrease, but to black Americans, it is extremely important. Many black Americans rely on government welfare programs — but the majority of these individuals would rather be working instead of receiving handouts. Last year, the amount of Americans of all races who were using food stamps decreased dramatically. This is a positive sign for the black community — people are able to abandon the government programs that keep them trapped in poverty.
Black Americans are also worried about illegal immigration — an issue on which Trump campaigned heavily. According to Gallup, 57% of blacks are concerned about immigrants entering the country illegally. While most blacks believe that the U.S. should provide a path to citizenship for those already in the country, they wish to ensure that more illegal immigrants are unable to come into the country.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has taken an aggressive approach towards illegal immigration. He has overseen the deportation a large number of illegals who have committed other crimes while residing in the U.S. This is especially important to black business owners in fields where illegal immigration cuts into their profits.
Sign of the Future?
It’s hard to know how Trump’s approval rating will fare with blacks in the future. The left is working overtime to persuade blacks that Trump is a bigot whose policies will negatively impact their communities. However, if the president continues to perform as he has the left’s strategy is less likely to work.
It’s doubtful that Trump will ever gain a 95% approval rating with blacks as he has predicted, but it’s clear that so far, his policies have been good for all Americans. In the end, many blacks — like other voters — will pay more attention to how their current situation compares to what it was under the previous administration. In 2020, they will ask the question Ronald Reagan asked Americans during his campaign: “Am I better off now than I was four years ago?” Hopefully, the answer will be “yes.”