President Donald Trump won Texas by a 9-point margin in 2016, but he got only 11% of the Black vote against Hillary Clinton.
Two Black supporters with Dallas ties made a pitch for the president Friday as part of the campaign’s effort to make inroads: Katrina Pierson, a former Dallas tea party leader and congressional candidate who now serves as a senior adviser on the campaign, and former Dallas Cowboy Herschel Walker, who made an appearance at the Republican National Convention in August.
Biden “expects unconditional support from Black voters despite breaking every promise to our community,” asserted Pierson. “I believe President Trump is going to win a record number of Black voters in 2020 because we trust results, not empty words.”
She called Democrat Joe Biden a “pay-to-play” politician and criticized his role in the mass incarceration of Black men, who are more than five times as likely to be imprisoned as white men, according to statistics from the Pew Research Center.
Biden has apologized for his role in anti-crime legislation in the 1990s. At a town hall Thursday night, he called the law a “mistake” but noted that it was widely supported by Black lawmakers, too, at the time.
Black voters have long been reliable voters for Democrats, and Trump’s 9-to-1 loss among Black voters in Texas was typical. Many refuse to consider Trump despite disappointment with Democrats. In 2016, the Black turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election.
The Trump campaign is trying to exploit that enthusiasm gap, but the president has resistance to overcome. In a September poll by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, just 10% of Black voters in the state said they would vote for Trump; 75% said they would vote for Biden.
Trump failed to denounce white supremacists in the first presidential debate, he has called the Black Lives Matter movement a “symbol of hate,” and he has defended Confederate monuments.
Tariq Thowfeek, Texas communications director for Biden’s campaign, cited Trump’s failure to denounce QAnon conspiracy theorists in his town hall Thursday night as an example of how his words incite harm.
“We must fight the scourge of white supremacy in our state and in our country,” he said in a statement. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris know that there is no place in Texas for white supremacy and hate.”
Walker has known the president for 37 years and said he supports Trump “because I know he’s going to do what he says he’s going to do.”
The former running back emphasized the president’s “Platinum Plan” for Black empowerment, which promises 3 million new jobs, 500,000 new Black-owned businesses and a $500 billion increase in investment capital in Black neighborhoods.
Walker credited Trump for low unemployment among Black Americans throughout his presidency.
But that’s a message that so far hasn’t swayed voters. A Washington Post poll from early 2020, before the pandemic, found that 77% of Black Americans gave Trump “only some” or “hardly any” credit for the strong economy.