Republicans see opportunity to win black voters as Biden bleeds their support

Of African-American voters, Gingrich said, "They're now watching the government harass Trump. They actually identify with what he's going through." The trending data and a frenzy of social media posts by African-Americans may bear this out.

Published: August 28, 2023 11:05pm

In the wake of former President Donald Trump's Georgia booking and the frenzy over Trump's mugshot, Republicans are increasingly optimistic that may win over substantial amounts of black voters as support for President Joe Biden among the demographic appears to be waning.

Polling data over the past month appears to show substantial movement away from Biden and toward Trump in terms of their 2024 voting intentions. Even the day before Trump's booking in Georgia, a McLaughlin and Associates August monthly survey showed the former president defeating Biden in a general election rematch 47% to 43%. That survey further showed Trump claim 21% support among black voters to Biden's 68%, with 11% undecided.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters did not disclose a margin of error. Still, those figures represent an upward trend from the same survey's July iteration. The earlier survey saw Trump edge out Biden 46% to 44%, though the incumbent commander-in-chief took 80% of the black vote to Trump's 9%, with 11% undecided. Collectively, the polls show a 24% swing of black voters from Biden to Trump during the one-month interval.

"Yes, we're seeing that where Donald Trump in his first race, he got 8% and the African American vote, then he got to 12% in 2020. It's going to be even higher now where it could approach 20%," pollster John McLaughlin said Monday on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show.

"I've seen it where candidates like... Governor Nathan Deal in Georgia, who reformed their justice system and helped improve charter schools, he was he was getting double-digit African-American support," McLaughlin said.  "And George Allen, Jim Gilmore, when they ran in Virginia, we got about 20% of the black vote" he added.

"So, it's possible to do much better," McLaughlin said. "And Trump's getting it now because particularly among African-Americans who are more independent among men, and some core Democrats, they're breaking off because they're sympathizing with him. Here's this tough leader who basically is is taking everything they're throwing at them, and they see it, that it's political."

"And their fortunes under Joe Biden are not improving; they're getting worse," he continued. "So I saw a recent stat where real wealth and wages among African-American voters improved under President Trump. And now it's worse under Joe Biden. So so so right now, I think voters across America, particularly working-class voters, are coming to President Trump."

McLaughlin's surveys do not seem to be outliers. A Fox News poll conducted in mid-August suggested that, should Trump and Biden face off in 2024, the former president would win 20% of the black vote, compared to 61% who would back Biden. 

While the demographic remains overwhelmingly Democratic, such figures would suggest that the voter bloc has shifted significantly from its 2020 leanings. In the general election, 87% of black voters backed Biden, compared to 12% who broke for Trump. Collectively, those figures represent a 34% shift away from Biden since November 2020. Conducted between August 11-14, the survey questioned 1,002 registered voters. Notably, it posted a 9.5% margin of error for black respondents, leaving considerable room for variation.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich opined that Trump's myriad indictments have served to highlight the alleged corruption of the Democratic-led government and may steer black voters toward the ex-commander-in-chief.

"The reason is simple: They feel that the police have harassed them," Gingrich told Fox News over the weekend. "They're now watching the government harass Trump. They actually identify with what he's going through. I think many people who may or may not like Trump's personality, but they look at this and they think, 'Here are my choices. I'm going to side with a totally corrupt administration or I'm going to side with the guy who has the guts to stand there and take the beating and keep coming.'"

That seems to be resonating with many African-Americans on social media. On X (formerly Twitter) one post used the mugshot as a background to protest "these phony-ass indictments." Another video post has a montage reel where one young Black man reacts to the mugshot by saying "the 'hood is waking up." Others in that clip strongly identify with the issue of "police harassment" and "the justice system." 

Conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza wryly noted that "A mugshot can be a badge of honor. Solzhenitsyn had one. Gandhi. Mandela." His tweet was illustrated with a mugshot of Rev. Martin Luther King taken at the infamous Birmingham jail.

Conservative activist Rob Smith took exception to the Fox poll, asserting that notions of a black voter swing toward the GOP were either "a dream or a lie."

"It’s not happening, folks," he opined, before asserting that the more likely development would be that black voters disillusioned with the Biden administration simply remain home on Election Day. "The best Republicans can hope for - and I’m being 100% honest - is that Blacks get fed up with Dems and refrain from voting for them. THAT is realistic and where things are trending with the awakening that is happening."

Democrats, for their part, appear more concerned about the scenario Smith described. Terrance Woodbury, CEO of Democratic consultancy firm HIT Strategies, expressed concerns to The Hill that male black voters are increasingly unwilling to vote for Democrats merely to thwart Republican successes, in part due to disillusionment with Democratic initiatives.

"For that part of the Black coalition, Black men and younger Black voters, the threat of Republicans is not enough. For those voters, it’s not even the promise of what they will do in the next four years. It’s the progress of what they’ve done in the last four years," he said. "The barrier here is not 'how do we make them like Biden.' The barrier here is ‘how do we convince them that government works?"

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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