Certain leaders in the Republican party who seem to be constantly critical of the party's presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, have been busy of late encouraging the alleged billionaire to at least put up a pretense of being interested in black votes. Chasing black votes, however, does not seem to be on the candidate's "to-do" list.
The past week, for example, Trump flew into Detroit on his private jet, rushed across town in a chauffeured SUV, and spoke to a large assemblage of mostly white and entirely privileged locals known as the Detroit Economic Club. Then he hopped back in the SUV and headed to the airport. The round-trip across Detroit took The Donald past some of the most blighted inner-city landscapes in America and along streets populated by some of the poorest of America's underclass - many of whom are black - but Donald kept his head down and ignored the desperate reality that he was traversing. If any of those people qualified as voters, Hillary was welcome to them.
And that has been the Republican attitude since blacks first began voting in substantial numbers in the mid-twentieth century. The Gallup polling organization began tracking "black" votes in presidential elections in the year 2000, but the group was collecting racial data as a factor in voting as least as far back as 1952 when it classed voters as "white" and "non-white," with Hispanics being folded into the "non-white" grouping.
The election of 1952, the first match-up between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson found Stevenson, the Democratic candidate capturing 79% of the "non-white" vote. Four years later his percentage for that racial grouping dropped to just 61%, the lowest "non-white" vote total for any Democratic candidate for President from that time to the present.
Republicans had a bit of a high-water mark in 1960 when Richard Nixon, of all people, collected 32% of the "non-white" vote in his failed race against John F. Kennedy. Four years later in the election of 1964, enthusiasm for Democrats spiked when LBJ garnered 94% of the "non-white" vote as he pounded Barry Goldwater into the footnotes of American history. From that point onward the Democratic presidential nominee always earned a minimum of 80% of the "non-white" vote with one exception: the election of 1992. In that contest Bill Clinton, a man who fancied himself "America's first Black President" until Obama came along, only took 77% of the "non-white" vote on his first run for the White House. The remaining 23% was split between George H.W. Bush (11%) and H. Ross Perot (12%).
Beginning in 2000 when black votes were singled out of the "non-white"grouping, all of the Democratic candidates for President have received over 90% of the black vote. This, according to Gallup: Gore (95%), Kerry (93%), Obama (99%) and Obama (95%).
Donald Trump is not going to chase black votes because he is a well known commodity with a history of racism. Black votes matter - just not to Trump. He sees his path to victory as maximizing his base and not worrying about extraneous groups. Trump's base is angry, old white people, and it is with them that he will expend most of his efforts. Of course, since his base is dying off daily, one of his primary efforts needs to be quickly generating as many absentee ballots as possible. Get those votes before the grim reaper intercedes.
Dead votes matter.