He’s trotted this out on the campaign trail already, but over the weekend Donald Trump formalized it into an op-ed. With surprising endorsements (or quasi-endorsements) from popular hip-hop figures like Ice Cube, Fifty Cent, and Lil Wayne, Trump returns to his 2016 pitch to update it. Instead of “what do you have to lose,” Trump now asks “how much more do we have to gain?”
Beyond the slogan is an argument that shows Trump has at least been paying attention (via RedState):
As your President, I’ve done more for the Black community than Democrats like Joe Biden have done in 47 years, and we are going to do so much more. As part of our efforts, we’ve unveiled my second term agenda called the “Platinum Plan” for Black Economic Empowerment, to ensure even more Black Americans have the opportunity to succeed over the next four years.
The plan is built around the pillars of opportunity, security, prosperity and fairness. I’ve committed to adding 3 million new jobs for the Black community, creating 500,000 new Black-owned businesses and increasing access to capital in Black communities by almost $500 Billion to create an era of new prosperity and to finally close the wealth gap.
We are increasing access to capital and economic empowerment for the Black community as a way to build Black generational wealth.
This is a key point in any outreach to black voters. Generational wealth is a real and enduring problem for black families, although the root causes are complex and not easily reconciled. Kamala Harris sent out signals on this very point in her tweet last night, arguing that black voters need equity more than they need equality. Trump’s attempting to counter this by noting that he built an economic recovery that finally included black families, and that he also wants to put policies in place that assure both equality and equity.
That’s the economic message that won over the rap stars down the stretch, along with Fifty Cent’s realization what Joe Biden’s tax plan would do to him:
Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done. 🤙🏾 pic.twitter.com/Q9c5k1yMWf
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) October 29, 2020
The biggest value in this op-ed is that nod to the generational-wealth issue. That is what drove Ice Cube to work with Trump on the Platinum Plan as well, even though he later said that he wasn’t endorsing Trump. “He listened to what we had to say” is perhaps the best compliment a Republican president/candidate can hear, especially in an age of base turnouts and pandering on both sides. Usually, Republicans don’t bother to engage black voters, and Democrats take them for granted. At least Trump is trying.
Will black voters buy that? Overwhelmingly no, but then again, Trump doesn’t need an overwhelming vote shift among black voters to win the election. He won only 8% of that vote four years ago, while Hillary Clinton won 89%. Three percent voted for other candidates, and first Trump wants to pick up those voters, and then hopefully cut into Joe Biden’s natural base advantage in this demo. If Trump can pick up 12-15% of this demo, the race is over.
To that point, Trump spends more time reminding his target audience of what the Democrats have done for them:
When there was increased violence and deaths in Democrat-controlled cities, we started Operation Legend, after young LeGend Taliferro and we are seeing results. When lawless criminals kept looting, burning and destroying Black businesses and communities, I said we needed peace, law and order in these same cities to keep communities, and families safe.
In Black communities across the nation, there’s been a reckoning to the reality that the Democrats have failed them for generations. D.C. Democrats are happy to leave urban communities mired with failing schools, no jobs and lost hope while wasting time and taxpayer money on baseless and partisan politics.
The truth is this: Democrats despise my America First agenda because it broke up their taxpayer-funded gravy train that enriched their friends and families, shipped jobs overseas, supported illegal immigrants and continued endless wars while leaving Black American families high and dry.
This is one issue on which Trump might really gain some traction, although it still might be in the “what do we have to lose” category. The shocking increases in violent crime have come in urban areas, where black families disproportionally live. They have a front-row seat for the end stage of the progressivism that has created these failed cities, and now are angrily demanding more (and better) policing while progressive activists hijack cities with police defunding and abolition movements.
If Trump would remain consistent and coherent on this point, he might have a large swath of voters looking to push back against those progressive activists that have taken over the Democratic Party. As it is, though, this message will get filtered through Trump’s earlier defenses of Confederate symbology, as well as his repeated attempts to pander to the extremes of his own base. That will limit the impact of his record and his “Platinum Plan,” because — as the late Andrew Breitbart constantly reminded us — politics is downstream of culture. Trump’s a little late in focusing on the culture in black communities, even if his overall policies lifted them economically.
Still, this pitch doesn’t require a large impact. All Trump needs is a shift of a few percentage points, and all of the chaos on the streets of American cities might end up giving it to him. Trump is wisely aiming at the margins here, with a message that could pay off. It might be the irony of ironies if Trump wins re-election by increasing his support from 2016 among black and Hispanic voters.