Black History Month is usually a time to remember the sacrifices that blacks have made here since 1619 (when the first slaves were dragged to these shores) and rejoice in the enormous contributions of the millions of black men and women who have made America all that it has become since 1776. This year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the many ways that President Donald J. Trump and his policies are helping blacks Americans make history anew.
Here are a dozen examples of how this is happening.
- Under President Trump, black Americans are enjoying seasonally adjusted unemployment rates at or near historic lows. Today’s 6.0 percent jobless figure is a bit higher than August’s lowest-ever 5.4 percent, but still well below the 7.5 percent recorded when Trump arrived in January 2017.
- The current jobless rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for black teenagers, ages 16-19, is 22.5 percent, up from August’s record low of 15.8 percent, but far below the 26.2 percent, when Trump took charge. Oddly enough, these milestones do not move Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat. In a uniquely warped observation, the black congressman told Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto that black “unemployment is not the lowest it has ever been, unless you count slavery. We were fully employed during slavery.”
- According to the latest Census Bureau data, the number of blacks below the poverty line was 20.8 percent in 2018, a record low. This is yet another salutary effect of the Trump/GOP policies of tax reduction, deregulation, energy independence, improved trade agreements, and an overall pro-business tone. These actions reversed Obama’s tax hikes, miles of red tape, green-energy bankruptcies, and “You didn’t build that!” anti-business finger-wagging.
- Trump signed the First Step Act (FSA) in December 2018. Pushed on Capitol Hill by White House aide (and First Son-in-Law) Jared Kushner, this GOP-led, Democrat-supported criminal-justice-reform overwhelmingly helps blacks more than others. Black men constitute 91 percent of those who have received leniency or liberation from mass incarceration under FSA. Obama had eight years to sign such legislation. Despite the clamor of Black Lives Matters and other groups, he couldn’t be bothered. Trump got it done.
- Trump has launched 8,762 Opportunity Zones, which are attracting business and investment to low-income Census tracts, many populated by black Americans. Obama could have done this, but he spurned this market-driven approach to urban renaissance.
- Trump’s signature reauthorized and funded Washington, D.C.’s school-voucher program, some 75 percent of whose beneficiaries are low-income black kids. Obama fought strenuously to kill the Opportunity Scholarship initiative, to please his masters in the teachers’ unions. If this academically stunted black girls and boys in the ‘hood, as Obama’s actions signaled, whatever! -- In contrast, Obama sent his daughters to Sidwell Friends, the priciest, poshest private school in the nation’s capital. Good for the Obama girls! Too bad their father’s attitude toward struggling black students in D.C was, basically: “Let them eat chalk.”
- Five weeks into his presidency, Trump opened a White House office to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He announced this news to the presidents of some three dozen HBCUs, whom he invited to the Oval Office on February 27, 2017. -
- Among other efforts, Trump has provided HBCUs a permanent-funding stream, worked with private companies to offer apprenticeships to their students and directed NASA to recruit HBCU enrollees seeking space-related careers.
- Trump answered the pleas of HBCU presidents and approved Pell Grants year-round, rather than strictly for fall and spring semesters. Many HBCU students take winter and summer classes. Now, unlike the Obama years, they (and others) can do this with Pell Grants. Obama ignored HBCU presidents’ repeated requests for this simple change. Trump made it happen.
- Trump upgraded Dr. Martin Luther King’s resting place from a national historic site to a national historic park, in January 2018, enhancing its treatment by the National Park Service. Civil-rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis, D–Ga., first introduced legislation in 2014 to spur this improvement. Obama never signed this bill. Trump did.
- Trump, not Obama, posthumously pardoned black heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was imprisoned after a racially charged sex scandal in 1912. “I am taking this very righteous step, I believe, to correct a wrong that happened in our history,” Trump said. “It’s about time.”
- Trump hosted the Young Black Leadership Summit last October in the White House. He welcomed hundreds of center-right activists in their 20s and 30s who wore MAGA hats and applauded the president whom the left calls their oppressor. “You stand right up to those forces in our country that demand conformity and control,” Trump said. “You refuse to be censored. You refuse to be silenced. And you will never back down.’
Americans, black and otherwise, need to hear this good news — over and over again.
President Trump should speak to black audiences several times each week.
He should deliver commencement addresses at Howard, Morehouse, or other HBCUs this graduation season.
This effort is both the right thing to do and a winning strategy.
Senator Tim Scott, R- S.C., predicts 12 to 15 percent of black voters will back Trump. Especially in tight races, the black votes that shift from Democrat to GOP could spell victory. If Trump scores 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats will be cooked as thoroughly as Thanksgiving turkeys. Democrats cannot surrender that large a slice of its corpus and survive.
And Trump’s overtures to blacks will soothe nervous whites. They will see what a filthy lie Democrats perpetrate every time they call him a kloset Klansman. If Trump can persuade 80 percent of blacks to keep hating him, 20 percent to vote for him and a sliver of becalmed whites to relax and pull their elephant levers on November 3, he will win a landslide. His coattails also might keep the Senate Republican and rescue the House from Nervous Nancy and her cabal of radical social-justice warriors.
Together, President Trump and black Americans can make 2020 one of the most pivotal years in history.