President Donald Trump appears to be in a position to capture the highest percentage of the African-American vote of any Republican candidate since former President Dwight Eisenhower if current trends continue.
In 2016, the then-New York businessman famously made his pitch to black Americans, asking, “What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?”
“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?”
Trump didn’t appear to persuade too many African-Americans to take a chance on him, but he did convince some, garnering 8 percent of the black vote, an improvement over 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney (6 percent) and 2008 nominee John McCain (4 percent).
Dwight Eisenhower, the last non-politician to be elected president until Trump, was the most successful Republican candidate among African-Americans in the post World War II era, winning 39 percent of their vote in 1956.
The following year, the war hero would prove African-Americans’ faith in him was well-placed when he ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education desegregating the nation’s schools.
In 1957, Eisenhower also signed the first Civil Rights legislation since the Reconstruction years of the 1870s.
Ike’s vice president, Richard Nixon, would go on to tally a relatively strong 32 percent of the black vote in his losing presidential bid against Massachusetts Sen. John Kennedy in 1960.
Since that election, African-American support for Republican candidates has hovered mostly around 10 percent or lower.
However, the prospects are looking better for Trump going into 2020.
A July Fox News poll found the president’s approval rating among African-Americans at 22 percent.
Recent daily tracking polls by Rasmussen have shown that approval running as high as 34 percent.
Lest you dismiss these as numbers coming from conservative sources, an NAACP poll released a year and a half into Trump’s presidency already showed him at 21 percent approval among African-Americans.