Voter dissatisfaction is largely cited as the key to Republican victories in key states like Ohio and Michigan in 2016. And according to new data provided by the Stars and Stripes Coalition — a group created to provide GOP outreach to black voters — no dissatisfied group provided more impetus for victory than the dissatisfied black voters of 2016.
Concentrating on key economic issues like higher unemployment and poor educational outcomes for blacks, Stars and Stripes — formerly The 2016 committee that successfully drafted Ben Carson to become a candidate for President — made a strong appeal to black conservatives with targeted radio ads.
And if votes are a measure of success, expect more of the same going forward, with the group’s ultimate aim to challenge Democrat hegemony amongst black voters.
2016 marked a sea-change in the progressive electoral coalition that elected and, subsequently reelected, Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. It is not surprising that the black vote in crucial states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, failed to deliver for Hillary Clinton, a white woman, in the same way that it performed for Obama, the first black president of the United States.
What might surprise some, however, is how well Donald Trump—who has been vilified as an incorrigible racist– fared amongst black voters in states where the election was really won: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
According to the Stars and Stripes Coalition, those gains were by design, not by happenstance. That, they say, means that black votes are now in play for Republicans again in a way perhaps not seen since the 1980s.
After some success with black voters in the 2014 North Carolina Senate race, the committee spent $1,237,235 in targeted radio spots on black stations in the key five states, plus some local ads in Tallahassee and Jacksonville during the last cycle.
After the election, the group surveyed black voters in each of the states with a margin of error of +/- 3%.
In the most bellwether of bellwether states — Michigan — black turnout increased by 16% in 2016 over 2012, says the group, with Trump receiving 58,972 more black votes than Romney did in 2012. Trump won Michigan by 11, 423 votes. The black vote provided more than 5 times the margin of victory in this union-strong, key electoral state that traditionally belongs to Democrats.
Many people expected Romney to win Michigan in 2012 since it was Mitt’s home state, and his father served as governor there. Romney lost the state by 550,000 votes.
For Trump, by contrast, the black vote in fact assured his majority—and his presidency.
In four of the five states where the Starts and Stripes Committee aired, black votes provided higher margins for Trump than Romney by a spread of 2% points or more—a not insignificant number in the days of razor-thin electoral victories.
“30% or so of blacks describe themselves as conservative,” said John Philip Sousa, Chairman of Stars and Stripes Forever PAC. “Now we’re reaching out to those blacks with a weekly commentary in key states leading up to the 2018 Senate elections. Our goal is nothing less than to gain 30% or more of the black vote consistently for conservative candidates. Reaching that goal will change the electoral math across our country, and, more important, finally give black Americans an equal right to the pursuit of happiness that liberal Democrat policies have effectually denied them.”
Overall the committees sampling showed black voters preferred Trump to Romney by a margin of 5.2% of total votes and 2.5 times more than the 2012 total. Not bad for a racist.
Starts and Stripes expects dissatisfaction among black voters to continue given the economic and sociological discrepancies that exist in African-American communities. For the committee—and the GOP– 2016 was simply a good start.
For years I have written about the GOP neglect of black voters, who, by default, are provided with few real choices but the Democrat plantation. Blacks are a community with real grievances. At least some conservatives are showing that the GOP can be smarter than to ignore underserved, dissatisfied and angry voters — no matter how the voters used to vote.