Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in West Bend, Wis., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in West Bend, Wis., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Donald Trump says he wants support from more Black voters, asking them “what do you have to lose?” by breaking tradition and voting for a Republican presidential candidate.

Many black Republican officials praise the overtures, though they say Trump must work harder to make the argument directly to Black voters in communities where they live, instead of at rallies with nearly all-white crowds gathered in mostly White cities.

Black Democrats and rank-and-file voters, meanwhile, say Trump’s effort is at best too little, too late and at worst a cynical play actually aimed at Whites.

A sampling of Trump’s words and the reaction:

__

“You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it is safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats. …You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Now, you walk down the street, you get shot.” — Trump, speaking Aug. 22 in Akron, Ohio, promising to curb violence if he’s elected.

__

“Look at how much African-American communities are suffering from Democratic control. To those I say the following: What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose? … You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose? At the end of four years, I guarantee you I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote, I promise you — because I will produce for the inner cities.” — Trump, offering his perception of Black Americans’ quality of life as he spoke Aug. 19 in Dimondale, Michigan, which is more than 90 percent white.

__

“It’s crazy to think that he would have the audacity to ask us what we have to lose. If anything, his comments just made the line even more clear as to why black people won’t vote for him. … It seems to me he’s delivering this message to white audiences because that’s the only group he can get an audience with. If he came to North Philly, I don’t think he’s going to get a big crowd. And when we come to his rallies, he puts us out.” — Foluke Bennett, 43, Philadelphia.

__

“We need a change agent, because the issues in the African-American community have not been addressed, and we don’t need a traditional politician that’s going to gloss over those issues. He’s breaking down his overall economic platform and relating it to African-Americans.” — Calvin Tucker, 64, lone black Pennsylvania delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

__

“All of those comments, it’s just disrespectful, but that’s the real Trump, not this repackaged Trump they keep talking about.” — Steve T, 47, street vendor, East Cleveland, Ohio.

__

“He’s deviating from the standard model that says if you’re going to do outreach, you have to talk to black people. He speaks in Michigan, but he doesn’t speak in Detroit … What it ultimately ends up sounding like is him lecturing black people to a group of whites. … He’s making an argument, and his message is directed to his supporters. It’s a way of appealing to moderates and appealing to conservatives who are nervous about supporting someone like Donald Trump. ” — Leah Wright Rigueur, author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican” and a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

__

“He’s talking about Black people, not to Black people.” — James Smith, 79, East Cleveland, Ohio, referring to Trump’s emphasis on law-and-order and crime reduction in cities.

__

“At least we’re having the conversation. Now we need to make sure we have it in the right context. … We need to make sure we’re not just focused on people trying to find a way out of poverty, that includes the large and vibrant Black middle-class and also working class. It’s about making sure we stay away from anything that might stereotype or minimize the diverse black experience.” — Ashley Bell, director of African-American political engagement for the Republican National Committee.

__

Compiled by Associated Press reporters Bill Barrow and Errin Haines Whack.

Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours