With Trump Polling at 2% with Black Voters, RNC Hires Four Staff Member to Court African-American Community

The U.S. Republican National Committee has hired four new staffers to spearhead the party’s outreach to Black voters, officials announced Wednesday, as presidential hopeful Donald Trump grapples with courting votes from country's most historically liberal bloc.

The new appointments are: Ashley Bell, former commissioner of Hall County in Georgia, who will be senior strategist and national director of African American Political Engagement; Shannon Reeves, assistant professor of political science at Alabama A&M University, who will be senior adviser for the RNC political department; Elroy Sailor, founder and CEO of the J.C. Watts Companies, will serve as senior adviser to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus; and Leah Le’Vell, a senior at Georgia State University, will be African American Initiatives and Urban Media Fellow.

Chairman Priebus said in a statement that the new hires are aimed at increasing the RNC’s “long-term commitment to engaging with Black voters and being the Party that promotes new models to solve old problems.” Democratic nominees for president typically capture in excess of 95 percent of the Black vote, but Trump is not even doing that well. Polls show that only 2 percent of all Black voters support him, behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with 86 percent of the Black vote, and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4 and 5 percent, respectively, according to aggregated polls reported by FiveThirtyEight.

Despite his low standing in the polls, Trump has repeatedly boasted about his support among Black voters and his personal relationships with Black voters. Black people in the United States made up 13 percent of the total electorate in 2012. A total of 17.8 million Black voters cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential election, marking a voter turnout of 66 percent among African Americans—2 percent higher than turnout among white voters.

In the 2012 election, exit poll data showed that Black voters made up President Obama’s winning margin in the states of Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to the Cook Political Report. Between 1980 and 2004, Republican candidates received between 8 and 12 percent of votes from African Americans, while in the 2008 and 2012 elections against Obama, support for Republican candidates among Black voters dropped to about half the previous rates.


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