Is Trump's Minority Outreach Working?

Up until the past week, much of Donald Trump’s “minority outreach” had happened in front of white voters.

That changed on Saturday as Trump visited a Detroit church, where he made a surprisingly cogent and seemingly heartfelt speech to the Great Faith Ministries’ congregation.

It was a positive move for Trump, who has been speaking about the difficulties faced by the black community in this country, but had yet to do so in front of a representative audience.  

Importantly for Trump, some members of the Great Faith Ministries congregation reacted positively to Trump’s speech, as The Huffington Post showed in a piece on Sunday.

He used phrases like: “I believe that we need a civil rights agenda for our time,” and “I fully understand that the African-American community has suffered from discrimination and that there are many wrongs that must still be made right and they will be right.”



These approaches are rarely heard from the most recent iteration of right-wing American politics. Particularly not from politicians who take their time disavowing former KKK leader David Duke, and who retweet white supremacists. And not from parties whose loudest voices have claimed: “Unfortunately for liberals, there is no more racism in America,” as we’ve heard from Ann Coulter.

For context, Trump has rejected multiple invitations from the NAACP and the National Urban League to speak to their members throughout his campaign.  

Kellyanne Conway has made a strong impact on Trump. For one, she seems to be “softening” the Trump image we’ve all known. From Mexico City to Detroit, we’ve experienced a new Trump in the past week.

The difficulty is, the old Trump still gets some airtime in between his bouts of flaccidity.

Trump’s post-Mexico immigration speech in Arizona caused more confusion than assurance for many in the conservative Hispanic community.

On Sunday morning’s ‘Face the Nation,’ U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) was asked about whether Trump cleared up his position on immigration. His simple answer was no.

This new posture seems squarely aimed at attracting the white conservative voter, who thus far refused to support Trump, given the overwhelming racist image he has built. For the white vote, Trump’s minority outreach may ease some fears of overt racism.

For minority voters, however, these moves confuse rather than explain how a Trump administration would deal with discrimination and immigration.

3 comments about "Is Trump's Minority Outreach Working?".
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  1. Valerie Graves from Valerie Graves Creative, September 6, 2016 at 12:46 p.m.

    I take issue with the notion that Trump's "outreach" confuses minority voters. From my long-ago childhood days, I remember white politicians showing up at our church around election time, never to be seen until they were running again. Also, the writer describes Trump's speech as "seemingly heartfelt." Right, pay no attention to the fact that he was reading from a script. If Trump had never come to Detroit, there would still be a few Africans who would support him, for whatever reason. I'm sure they still do, but he's not winning black voters in any significant numbers, and it's not because we are confused. In fact, it's just the opposite.

  2. Joel Rubinson from Rubinson Partners, Inc., September 6, 2016 at 1:05 p.m.

    trump's outreach is bold, brilliant and authentic.  He is not ceding any territory to his opponent who is in self-induced free fall as her chickens are coming home to roost.  Trump is trying to build a Reagan democrats appeal and very well might succeed.  BTW, my recollection is that Reagan never got more than about 6% of the black vote in any polls EXCEPT the exit polls where he did considerably better than expected. Is it working? He has improved about 8 points in the polls and has now pulled even or slightly ahead in the 4 way polls of likely voters

  3. Philip Rosenstein from Law360 replied, September 6, 2016 at 1:18 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment, Valerie - point very well taken. As far as confusing minority voters, Trump's varying positions on immigration have created more questions than answers on that front. When it comes to African-American voters, your point rings true -- Trump's outreach will likely not make any inroads with voters who are already opposed to his candidacy. 

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