Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign is spending money on advertising targeted at black voters with the message that it is “woke” to support Trump’s reelection.
“The president’s reelection campaign has spent $1 million in an effort to make inroads with black voters, and more is coming, according to a person with direct knowledge of the planning,” Politico reported on Friday.
The initiative, internally described as “Black Voices,” includes ads in black-run newspapers and radio stations, along with volunteer training seminars.
The ads, which have run in cities with large black populations like Philadelphia, Detroit, and Atlanta, tell voters to sign up for candidate updates by texting “Woke” to a Trump campaign phone number.
The Trump reelection campaign is also selling campaign merchandise labeled with the term “Woke.”
“The end goal is to create doubt in the minds of black voters, doubt about the Democratic Party, and doubts about the Democratic nominee,” Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of Black PAC, told Politico.
Trump’s 2016 campaign, along with efforts from Russian-based Facebook campaigns, sought to suppress the black vote during that election cycle by stymieing turnout. A senior Trump campaign official who spoke to Bloomberg in October that year, just weeks before the election, admitted, “We have three major voter suppression operations under way” aimed at groups Trump’s then-rival, Hillary Clinton, needed to win.
Those groups, according to Bloomberg, were “idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.”
The Trump administration, along with Republican officeholders in states like North Carolina, also attempted to suppress votes in minority-heavy areas in last year’s midterm elections by issuing sweeping subpoenas requesting millions of voter records in the weeks prior. Trump himself engaged in what some labeled voter intimidation, suggesting in a tweet on Election Day that law enforcement would be guarding polling stations to check for “illegal” voting.
According to experts from the Center for American Progress, “The process of voting can be extremely confusing, even for Americans citizens who are eligible to vote, as inaccurate or misleading information about election eligibility and processes run rampant during election seasons.” Threatening or intimidating speech, they added, “is enough to keep some eligible would-be voters from participating in elections […].”
The advertising blitz faces an uphill struggle considering Trump’s weak performance with black voters. In the 2016 election, he received just 8 percent of the black vote, which contributed to his popular vote loss against Clinton.
A recent CNN poll showed Trump with a meager 3 percent approval rating among black women, down slightly from the 4 percent support he had among that group in 2016.
Trump has frequently used his office to advance racist ideas and causes.
He has praised neo-Nazis and white supremacists while attacking leading black lawmakers like the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), as well as Democratic Reps Maxine Waters (CA) and Frederica Wilson (FL).
Trump has also targeted prominent black journalists including April Ryan of American Urban Networks.
Trump has also attacked efforts to remove statues honoring the pro-slavery Confederacy, even comparing the illegal separatist movement that took up arms against the United States to the Founding Fathers.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.