WASHINGTON – When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, he made many promises that seemed unlikely to come to fruition. Perhaps the most exaggerated of all was a statement he made during a visit to Michigan that August: “At the end of four years,” he said, “I guarantee you I will get over 95 percent of the African American vote.”
In the election three months later, Trump received 8 percent of the black vote while Hillary Clinton got 88 percent. Now, 10 months before the 2020 presidential election, Trump’s bold prediction from his first election campaign will be put to the test.
The notion of Trump receiving 95 percent or more of the African American vote is absurd. However, people close to the president believe he has a realistic chance of improving his levels of support from 2016 – maybe even getting more than 10 percent of the black vote. Some, in fact, say such an improvement will be critical in order for Trump to secure reelection.
Against the confidence of the Trump campaign, experts who spoke with Haaretz about the role African Americans will play in this year’s election predicted the opposite scenario: High motivation among African Americans to “vote out” Trump and replace him with a Democratic candidate. The only thing on which both sides seemed to agree was that this constituency will have an important – perhaps even decisive – impact.