Donald Trump is trying to win over African-American voters in his latest pivot to the general election. Today, he spoke in West Bend, Wisconsin about the need for safety following the riots in Milwaukee resulting from the shooting of Sylville Smith. Unfortunately, the community he was speaking to has a black population of just one percent.
West Bend is part of Washington County, Wisconsin. In the 2010 census, the county registered a 96 percent white population with just one percent of the community identifying as African-American. Though Trump was probably unaware of the local race demographics, critics see this as yet another example of Trump talking about black people instead of talking to them.
“Law and order must be restored for the sake of all, but most especially for the sake of those living in the affected communities,” Trump said. “The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods.” He was referring to recent riots that mainly affected African-American communities, not the community he was visiting.
Trump’s attempt to win African-American voters comes as the Republican National Committee highlighted his failure to convince the crucial group to support or even consider him. Though he won the support of several African-American pastors at the beginning of his campaign, Trump has held no events with African-American groups. The campaign’s outreach to black voters has also been poor.
Speaking to a mostly white audience about African-American issues will do little to boost his image among a traditionally Democratic constituency. Black voters are crucial in swing states where Trump is losing but his attempts to win black votes is unlikely to succeed.