Donald Trump continues to target black voters as he tours the south. He’s pitched himself as the candidate to best address the demographic’s concerns as he looks to take voters away from Hillary Clinton in polls.
“The Democratic Party has run nearly every inner city in this country for 50 or 60 years, or in some cases over 100 years. Over 100 years,” Trump said in Tampa Bay, Florida on Aug. 24.
He then went on to draw the connection between the Democratic politicians and impoverished black communities.
“They’ve produced only more poverty, only more crime, only more joblessness and broken homes all over the place, at record levels,” Trump continued, asking those at a rally rhetorically, “What do you have to lose?”
Trump also promised to alleviate crime in inner cities and offer protection, saying that children have “a right” not to get shot in the streets.
“I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you’re not gonna be shot. Your child isn’t gonna be shot,” he said.
Obama won 93 percent of the black vote in 2012 and 95 percent in 2008, according to exit polls. Earlier this month, Trump polled, in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal, at only 1 percent—trailing Clinton by a 90 percent margin.
Critics have pointed out that Trump has rejected high-profile speaking slots at the NAACP’s annual gathering, along with events sponsored by the Urban League and the National Association of Black Journalists.
Trump was scheduled to appear later on Aug. 24 in Jackson, Mississippi, an 80 percent African-American city and capital of the state with the nation’s highest proportion of black residents. It is unclear whether he will address black voters directly; so far, his appeal to them has been delivered before white audiences in mostly white cities.
He has also scheduled an event for Aug. 25 billed as a roundtable with black and Latino leaders invited to his New York offices, and his aides say he is considering more rallies in heavily minority cities in swing states. The Washington Post first reported those plans, specifically mentioning charter schools, small businesses, and churches in black and Latino communities.
Trump’s difficulty with minority voters is not a new one for Republicans. The United States population gets more diverse with every election, and Republican candidates in the past have had difficulty attracting strong minority support, and have had to rely on winning a larger portion of the white vote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.