When it comes to the black vote, Donald Trump doesn’t have much to lose. The latest ABC News/Washington Post, Fox News, Marist, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls place Trump at an average 2 percent among black voters. That’s worse than Mitt Romney’s less than five percent back in 2012—and as of this month, Trump is working on getting those votes.
At a rally in Michigan on August 19th, Trump made a controversial appeal directly to black voters. “What do you have to lose?” Trump asked. “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed, what the hell do you have to lose?”
A few days later, Trump suggested that the shooting of Nykea Aldridge, the cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade, confirmed his inner-city crime theories. “Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”
In September, Trump will make his first foray into the black religious community with a visit to the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit, a predominately black church. Trump plans to tape an interview Saturday with the church’s Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, the president of a national Christian television network.
So where does that leave a candidate with 2 percent of the black vote (on a good day) and an overwhelming white nationalist support system? Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III joined Boston Public Radio for their weekly All Revved Up segment to explore the relationship between Donald Trump and the black vote.
“I think he’s doing phenomenally,” Price said. “If he has one percent, I’m just really amazed… If you look at the trajectory of all the things that he has been and who he is, and to think that he can show up on a stage and say, ‘you people—The Blacks, right? You’re poor, you’re impoverished, your education sucks, y’all ain’t got nothing, you’ll never have anything, and what have you got to lose? You should vote for me!’ ...The dude is getting it, are you kidding me?”
“Every white politician knows to come to a black church the Sunday before the Tuesday of election day, to garner the African-American vote,” Monroe said. “The black church operates as a multiple site. It’s not just a place of worship, it’s a place where you go get your news, and you’re advised at how best to capitalize on your vote. We don’t endorse a candidate, but if they’re standing up there, and they’re in your church, you know you’re endorsing them, because no black person in their right mind is going to have Trump in their church on Sunday morning.”
According to Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, Trump’s visit with the Detroit church is neither a rally nor an endorsement.
Emmett G. Price III is a Professor and the Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.Rev. Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist who writes for Huffington Post andBay Windows. To hear their full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio link above.