What the hell do you have to lose? That’s Donald Trump’s new sales pitch as part of his (too little, too late) African American voter outreach strategy, and it went down about as well as his Hispanic outreach via a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo. It’s a well-known Republican electoral dilemma that the US population grows a little less white every year, so in order to defeat Hillary Clinton Trump must make himself more attractive to non-white voters. The problem is after all the racist and bigoted comments and tweets that Trump made this year, not to mention all the times he challenged the US birth of the first African American president, his outreach sounds condescending and insincere. What the hell do voters have to lose? The real question should be, what the hell do voters have to gain?
Whether you agree or disagree with Trump’s blunt, stereotype-laden approach, his strategy is actually two-fold. He’s telling African Americans that he cares about their lives (uneducated, jobless, poor and pathetic though they are) while at the same time trying to convince educated white Republicans that he’s not a racist so they can feel less conflicted about voting for him. What’s missing from Trump’s outreach however (apart from any real knowledge that comes from visiting those communities that he talks about) is a comprehensive plan to address the issues he says are plaguing African Americans. So far his anti-trade, pro-rich, law-and-order platform would provide little real benefits to most Americans, let alone minorities.
It’s clear that Trump’s success in life is partly due to his remarkable salesmanship abilities. So does this latest failed pitch to minority voters indicate the impending death of the salesman? Perhaps not – GOP optimists could say that continuing with this approach might just convince enough minority voters to make a difference in some swing states. However two thirds of Americans consider Trump to be at least “somewhat racist” and polls seem to indicate that it would take a civil rights leader at the level of Martin Luther King Jr. endorsing his platform in order for Trump to make any serious inroads with minorities this election. Unfortunately for Trump, Ben Carson just doesn’t cut it.
Feel like sales would be a pretty easy job? Steer clear of real estate. Movie for your mood: Glengarry Glen Ross