Former NFL player Jack Brewer once raised campaign money for President Barack Obama, but now he’s among the increasing number of black voters who support President Trump.
“I’m going to take the guy who’s actually putting in the policies that are going to make life better for my young black son and my young black daughter, versus somebody who gives me lip service – like the Democrats have done for our community for years.” Mr. Trump and his reelection team are aggressively courting black voters amid a strong economy that has reduced black unemployment to 5.5%, lowest in history.
The Trump campaign launched its “Black Voices for Trump” coalition in Atlanta last month.
Three polls in November showed Mr. Trump’s job-approval rating among black voters in the 30% to 35% range, a significant increase over other surveys that have generally shown black voter support of less than 10%. “I’ll remind you, the president received 8% of the black vote in 2016,” said a senior Trump campaign official.
Said another Trump adviser, “One thing the president’s done is to try to govern for everybody. Even those who didn’t vote for him in the last election are now seeing a lot of results in their communities, and we’re seeing the poll numbers amongst all those groups grow in a way that creates a lot of opportunities.” Trump advisers point to other policies that are helping, such as criminal justice reform that lets more offenders win early release from prison and a second chance, and increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Mr. Brewer, a lifelong Democrat and entrepreneur who played for three NFL teams, said Mr. Trump is working much harder than any Republican candidate in his lifetime to reach out to black voters.
“Donald Trump will get over 20% of the black vote,” Mr. Brewer said in an interview.
The liberal Brookings Institution said in a recent report that the five U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest black populations – New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C. – have seen black median household incomes increase from 7% in Washington to 21% in Atlanta.
Trump campaign officials say more than 1.4 million new jobs have been created for black workers since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
Speaking to young conservative supporters last weekend at a Florida conference hosted by Turning Point USA, Mr. Trump said he is “So proud of what we’ve done with African American and Hispanic American [employment] numbers.” The president said Democrats “Have abandoned” black people.
“There were probably 40 different rap artists that bragged about Trump before his election. He was an icon in the black community. His name was an adjective, just like Randy Moss. When kids say you got ‘Mossed,’ that means that somebody jumped over you and caught a great catch. Trump has that same appeal to black people.” Republican presidential candidates since 1976 have averaged 10% support from black voters, according to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, ranging from a low of 4% for John McCain in 2008 when he ran against Mr. Obama to 17% for Gerald Ford in 1976.
“Trump’s 8% of the black vote in 2016 is thus not at all unusual,” Gallup senior scientist Frank Newport wrote in a recent post.
“Barring an extraordinary event that produces a surge in support for Trump nationally, history projects that his share of the black vote will be similarly low in 2020. The history of consistently low black voting for GOP candidates over the past four decades also underscores the structural challenge any Republican candidate faces in attempting to increase their black vote share.” Mr. Brewer said the impeachment affair, coupled with the revelation that the FBI abused its power in obtaining surveillance warrants for Trump campaign officials, is also causing black voters to view Mr. Trump more sympathetically.
“Black people have been abused and taken advantage of by the police and the FBI since the beginning of time. When you talk about the FBI changing up documents and pushing a narrative, and they don’t have any recourse? That’s very familiar to black people.” He acknowledged that some of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric turns him off, such as when the president referred to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and others who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality as “Sons of bitches.” “I don’t like his language a lot of times,” Mr. Brewer said.