Early Saturday evening, Donald Trump made a bittersweet return to Iowa after losing the state to Ted Cruz in February. Trump later took the Republican nomination, but general election territory remains a different beast. To that end, CNN ran a lengthy feature about how well-attended rallies — which are a staple of the Trump campaign — don’t necessarily lead to election success. The news outlet dissects the notion of visible “momentum” by analyzing the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. The full piece is an engrossing read for both Trump and Hillary Clinton fans.
In Des Moines, Trump spoke at the “Roast and Ride” event. He stated, “Republicans are the party of Abraham Lincoln.” He also hoped to make “our party the home of the African-American vote once again.” This initiative doesn’t align with Trump’s checkered history with “The Blacks,” but he’s decided that he can paint negative portraits of inner cities, and one question — “What do you have to lose?” — will be enough to win the black vote.
Trump did this again in Des Moines, but he intensified his rhetoric. He claimed that it “offends my sense of right and wrong” to witness how (he believes) minorities have fared under Democratic politicians. He once again invoked the death of Dwyane Wade’s cousin, Nykea Aldridge, to ask black voters to choose him. Trump mentioned the “great guy, Dwyane Wade” and lamented the tragedy before citing the statistic of more than 2,700 people who have been shot in Chicago this year. Then came this pitch:
“It’s horrible, and it’s only getting worse. This shouldn’t happen in America … For decades and decades and decades, failed Democratic policies. The policies of Hillary Clinton have created this high crime and crushing poverty, absolutely crushing poverty. In so many communities under Democratic control, we have bad schools, no jobs, high crime, and no hope. It can’t get any worse.
To those suffering, I say, vote for Donald Trump. I will fix it. African-Americans, Hispanics, vote for Donald Trump. I will fix it. It will get fixed. And I add — and I add it in all sincerity — what do you have to lose?”
Trump has grown fond of telling black voters that only he can free them from urban hellscapes, but he’s still leaving out the “why” and “how” to back up his claims. He does promise to create “millions of jobs,” which runs contrary to his habitual employment of foreign workers for his estates and businesses.
Also in Des Moines, Trump pulled out the old 1996 Clinton speech where she referred to some black youths as “super predators,” who must be “brought to heel.” Yes, she said those words, but beyond that, Trump’s offering up no reason why he keeps calling her a “bigot.” But he offers vague promises:
“I am running to offer a better future — to the citizens of Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, and all across this great land … Now is the time to put a new agenda into action that expands opportunity, ensures equality and that protects the rights of each and every citizen … We are also going to end the discrimination that traps parents and kids in failing government schools.”