Pundits and scholars alike have decried Trump's failure to court ethnic and racial minorities as well as women. The presumed Republican presidential nominee has a tremendous women and minority problem. Trump's campaign has alienated African Americans by originally refusing to repudiate David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Furthermore, Trump's support of an elderly white man who sucker-punched a young protester at a rally on 9 March led many African Americans to question the Republican candidate's ability to reasonably engage with dissonant perspectives based on race. The culmination of Trump's antipathy to black voters perhaps came two days later, when a planned rally in Chicago was canceled due to fears or a race riot.
Similarly, Trump has a problem mobilising women voters. Perhaps his unfavorable ratings with began when he told Don Lemon, CNN anchor, that 'you could see the blood coming out of here eyes, blood coming out of her wherever', referring to Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly. Trump has called women 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'bimbos,' and 'disgusting animals.' The businessman and reality TV star attacks Hillary Clinton using extremely gendered language. He said she was 'schlonged' in her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and has accused her of playing the 'gender card,' meaning she is using her gender to curry favour with women voters. Trump has consistently referred to Hillary as an 'enabler' of Bill Clinton's infidelities.
These two constituencies — African Americans and women — are large portions of the American electorate and key demographics that the GOP elite would like to mobilise. A mid-March poll conducted by CNN found that 73% of female voters have a negative view of Donald Trump. An early February poll conducted by USA Today/Suffolk found that African American support for Trump is around 10% (with a margin of error plus or minus 9 points). However, perhaps the most coveted prize this election is African American women voters. More than 70% of black women voted in 2012, a rate higher than both white women (65.6%) and white men (62.6%). Furthermore, black women are a larger share of the electorate than black men. To be sure, there are some African American women who support Trump (most notably, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson and Omarosa Manigault) yet, overall, Trump has failed to garner a large following among this demographic. Take for example, NeNe Leakes — of The Real Housewives of Atlanta fame — who recently denounced Trump after initially supporting him.
Donald Trump holds opposing views on many of the issues that matter most to black women. The presumed presidential nominee is against raising the minimum wage, wants to transfer social security to private retirement accounts, does not support paid sick leave, and opposes the Affordable Care Act. Black women already earn just 64 cents for every dollar paid to white women. Trump's economic policies would further financially marginalise them and their families. Furthermore, Trump has yet to outline his policy preferences on community policing, plans for improving public education, advancing reproductive justice initiatives, or reducing environmental pollutants.
If Donald Trump wants to make inroads with this coveted demographic, he needs to substantively address issues that are important to black women.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images