Reporters Reid Epstein and Jonathan Martin devoted 1,800 words on the New York Times Sunday front page to getting out the black vote against Donald Trump in 2020, in “Trump’s Words Fuel Racial Strife. How Will Black Voters Respond?”
Along the way, they issued a conspiracy-agent theory about how Trump is trying to stifle blacks from voting Democrat by...mentioning his criminal justice reform legislation? Here was Epstein and Martin (click "expand"):
Mark Greer is a black Detroiter so outraged by President Trump’s regular stream of invective toward people of color that he does his best to avoid exposure to him.
So when he clicked on a YouTube link last month to watch an episode of “The Breakfast Club,” a morning radio show popular with African-Americans, he was angered by an ad that greeted him: a message from Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign.
President Trump’s entire approach to people of color – his attacks on political leaders, his campaign’s social media strategy targeting the black electorate, his ability to fuel black opposition but also demoralize some black voters – is one of the most extraordinary political dynamics of the Trump era. No modern president has ever vilified black Americans or sought to divide people along racial lines like Mr. Trump, while also claiming to be a champion of their economic interests.
The online ad that Mr. Greer saw illustrates the audacious nature of Mr. Trump’s strategy. Even as the president sows racial disharmony, telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back,” and saying “no human being” would want to live in the “rat and rodent infested” city of Baltimore, his re-election campaign is spending money on social media to put Mr. Trump before the eyes of black voters.
Campaigning to win black votes? How dare he (click "expand"):
But the more clandestine hope, and one privately acknowledged by Trump allies, is that the president can make black voters think twice about turning out for Democrats or expending energy on trying to change a system some African-Americans believe is unalterably stacked against them.
For many voters of color in this crucial swing state, Mr. Trump’s racial invective is deeply hurtful on a personal level, but something they have come to expect from a president who has consistently denigrated them.
And there are already signs that Mr. Trump’s conduct, which has been reminiscent of a 2016 campaign filled with racist tropes, is likely to ensure that outcome.
The Trump campaign said it was eager to deliver its message to black voters.
“President Trump has an excellent record benefitting black Americans, which we will enthusiastically communicate,” said Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman. “Black unemployment has hit an all-time low, paychecks are rising, and the President is providing second chances to people through criminal justice reform.”
Apparently Trump is dangerous both for his racism and his appeals to African-American voters which the paper twists as a kind of voter suppression:
Some of that messaging is aimed at black voters using ZIP codes, though no public data tracks the precise amount. The Trump campaign has posted multiple ads on Facebook highlighting the criminal justice legislation, including spots that feature video of the president flashing a thumbs-up in the White House alongside African-Americans after signing the measure.
Mr. Trump doesn’t have to convert black voters with that message; just inhibiting enough of them from participating on Election Day would be a victory for his purposes. And leading black officials are already voicing concern that, in addition to Mr. Trump’s own advertising, the combination of strict voter identification laws and even more aggressive foreign interference on social media could suppress black turnout.
It could have been noted, in a story on the 2020 election wholly assuming Trump’s anti-black racism, that exit polls suggest Trump actually performed better in the 2016 election among black voters than previous Republican candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
This front-page “news” story closed with an anti-Trump cri de coeur:
Still, Charles Ellington, a 55-year-old marketing representative who came to see Mr. Booker at a rally on Thursday, said he would keep his focus on the president. He acknowledged that Mr. Trump is “irritating” -- and has been “ever since he was sworn in” -- but said that’s all the more reason to show up next year.
“Man, you gotta get out and vote!” said Mr. Ellington. “We can’t sit this one out.”