Trump, Biden courting Black men as Election Day nears

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the deadline to cast a ballot looms, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are keying in on Black men, a particularly coveted group of voters.

“Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump,” Trump said at the last presidential debate.

Trump is trying to appeal to Black men by relying on, in part, on his $500 billion economic prosperity measure being called the Platinum Plan. Biden aims to appeal to the demographic with Shop Talk, a roundtable discussion that identifies issues plaguing Black men.

“This country is starving for good leadership right now,” said Keith, a man only identified by his first name when participating in Shop Talk

As Election Day nears, Democratic delegate Darius Mitchell is encouraging Black men in West Michigan to vote, some of whom he said didn’t go to the polls in 2016.

“They didn’t know a lot about Donald Trump, so they weren’t comfortable voting for him,” said Darius Mitchell, Democratic Delegate. “They didn’t necessarily trust Hillary Clinton.”

Trump did garner some support from Black men four years ago. According to exit polls from the 2016 election, 13% of Black men voted for him.

The Trump campaign continues to build on that momentum.

The Washington Post reported that “1 in 5 black men approve of the job Trump is doing,” citing a recent Gallup survey, and Pew Research said, “10 percent of Black men” are leaning toward Trump.

What could hurt the president’s support with Black men is his choice of words.

“Some of the rhetoric that he has — like stand down and stand by — those things hit us deeply because we’ve lost family and friends during these past four years,” said Mitchell.

NBC News reported that “Black voters are expected to vote for Biden over Trump by about an 80 percent margin,” but experts said the candidate’s relationship to the 1994 crime bill could hurt his chances with Black men.

“Given Biden’s role in drafting that bill and being the leader of the bill, it’s hard to shake that,” said Dwayne Tunstall, associate professor of philosophy at Grand Valley State University.

Above all, experts and community leaders alike, urge Black men to vote, saying their choice to sit out the 2020 election could help their opposing candidate get elected.

“A ballot not cast is a vote not heard,” said Mitchell.

A week ago, former President Barack Obama campaigned for Biden in Philadelphia and encouraged Black men to vote. Democrats hope he can do the same when he comes to Michigan this weekend.