President Trump was voted into the White House in 2016 on the backs of the so-called, blue-collar workers, who live in the industrial Midwest of the country and a few southern battleground states. These folks reside in states like Wisconsin (Trump +.7), Michigan (Trump + .3), Ohio (Trump + 8.1), Florida (Trump + 1.2), and Pennsylvania (Trump + .7), etc.
Just like when discussing illegal immigration, most people think of people from Mexico; similarly, when you say blue-collar worker, most people think of White factory workers.
The Trump political operation and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are both making a flawed strategic calculation by not recognizing that Blacks are also a part of this blue-collar pool of voters that are open to Trump’s plans and the Republican message of economic nationalism.
Just like with Whites, Blacks in the above states were devasted with the closing of the steel mills and the automation of the auto industry in the 80s and 90s. Many were high school graduates who didn’t go to college, but were good with their hands and were able to make a middle-class living the old fashioned American way—through hard work.
What Republicans fail to realize is that many Blacks are against amnesty for those in the country illegally and would also like to limit legal immigration.
When you look at the margin of victory by Trump in the five above states, you can plainly see that targeting Black voters could increase his margin of victory.
If Trump were to give a series of speeches in front of Black blue-collar workers in these five states, there is no doubt that they could insulate him from the typical liberal attack lines that he is a racist and only cares about his wealthy friends—as though there is something wrong with being wealthy.
I would go a step further. Can you imagine Trump giving a series of speeches with Black blue-collar workers alongside Black entrepreneurs?
Just picture a couple hundred Blacks in a room; a Black carpenter in overalls sitting next to the tie and jacket wearing CEO of a Black IT firm; or a Black electrician sitting next to the managing partner of a Black CPA firm; or the Black owner of a landscaping company sitting next to the owner of a Black construction company.
Wow! What a visual.
What do all these Blacks have in common? They all have been negatively impacted by illegal immigration and would be devastated by giving amnesty, i.e. citizenship, to those in the country illegally.
Can you imagine if President Trump were to ask someone like Harry Alford to organize such an event? Alford is the President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the most preeminent Black chamber in the U.S. This organization offers some of the most insightful data on the state of the Black business community; they give the most insightful analysis on major policy issues and their impact on the Black business community.
Here’s a message to the Republican Party: Blacks are not opposed to the Trump administration’s agenda; simply put, no one is speaking to them in a language they understand and in a manner that is relevant to them.
Black blue-collar workers and Black entrepreneurs both have been and are being devastated by workers who are in the country illegally. Why hire a blue-collar American worker at $ 25 per hour when you can hire an illegal worker for a lot less?
Entrepreneurs are being undercut on government contracts, because big companies are hiring engineers from India through the insidious H-1B program, while small business owners have to pay American engineers a lot more in order to compete.
If this White House were to speak directly to Black blue-collar workers and Black entrepreneurs simultaneously, I can guarantee you that this effort would be quantifiable at the ballot box in this year’s congressional elections, as well as the presidential election in 2020.
Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur.