So last week Donald Trump—Master Persuader, artist of the deal—pitched his best argument for why “every single African American” should vote for him: “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed. … What the hell do you have to lose?”
We’re assuming that question was rhetorical (whether Trump realizes it or not), but just for the record, we thought we’d answer it anyway. Just off the top of our head, here are eight important things black people (and Americans generally, for that matter) could lose by voting for Trump.
1. A president who is sensitive to black issues
Hillary Clinton spent some time in her early activist years working on civil rights issues in the South. She has earned support from the black community for showing concern for black issues and for developing an agenda to address them.
By contrast, Trump:
- Was sued (along with his father) by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination against African Americans in the 1970s (the case was eventually settled, after the Trumps agreed to a set of conditions)
- Was hesitant to disavow Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in a TV interview
- Has re-energized the white supremacist movement with his nativist rhetoric
- Questioned the citizenship of Barack Obama
- Has been awkwardly clueless and tone-deaf in his public comments, referring to black people as “the blacks” and pointing out a rare black person in a rally crowd by saying, “Oh, look at my African American over here. Look at him.”
- Has retweeted 75 tweets from white-nationalist sympathizers, according to Fortune magazine
- Has hired to run his campaign the head of a far-right website that traffics is racism, sexism, and Islamophobia and employs a top editor who was recently banned from Twitter for inciting racist tweets against actress Leslie Jones
2. Their jobs
According to two extensive reports by Moody’s Analytics, Trump’s economic proposals could cause a “lengthy recession” and cost Americans over 3 million jobs. Clinton’s proposals would add more than 10 million jobs.
3. Their right to vote
A recent federal appeals court decision struck down North Carolina’s GOP-enacted voter ID law, saying the restrictions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision” in their attempts to suppress voting. Trump and his Republican Party aggressively support similar laws in other conservative states. Black people who have trouble securing the proper voting identification would be unable to vote in elections. Voter ID laws hit hardest at the elderly, students, low-income voters, and those without easy access to transportation.
4. Any hope of addressing police violence and unfair enforcement against the black community
Clinton has been supportive of calls to reduce police violence, unequal treatment, and racial profiling of African Americans. Donald Trump and Republicans have shown contempt for the Black Lives Matter movement and hostility toward the issues black people are raising. Trump, in fact, has called for police to be more aggressive.
5. Their health care
Trump has vowed to repeal the current health care law and replace it with a vastly inferior version. Millions of black people enrolled in Obamacare or in expanded Medicaid would stand to lose their current health insurance.
6. Their social safety net
If Trump’s Republican Party manages to pass the federal budget that House Speaker Paul Ryan has outlined, it would devastate social services in America. Republicans have already tried to pass major cuts to food stamps for America’s poorest citizens (they were stopped by Democrats). Since poverty and unemployment disproportionately affect African Americans, those cuts would disproportionately harm black people.
7. A living wage
Trump has made contradictory statements about whether he would support a raise in the minimum wage, but he apparently doesn’t support an increase to $15, as Democrats do. And his party is dead-set against any federal raise at all, saying it should be left to the states. Any black households with a family member working a minimum-wage job would most likely not see any meaningful raise in the national rate under Trump.
8. Any possibility of affordable college tuition, affordable child care, guaranteed sick pay, or family leave
Clinton and the Democratic Party are fighting for all of those significant improvements to the lives of workers. Like all Americans, black people will have to depend on Democrats winning office to achieve any of them.