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Jamie Dean: Can Donald Trump Gain Enough Black Voters to Make a Difference in 2020?

In a 90-year-old building in downtown Greensboro, the Woolworth’s lunch counter still looks just as it did when Clarence Henderson quietly defied a racist store policy and helped change the course of American history

The building now houses the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, and the once-bustling diner sits preserved in its original spot. That’s where Henderson joined three other black college students on Feb. 2, 1960, to sit at the sprawling lunch counter designated for white customers only.

The sit-ins at the popular department store helped spark a series of similar protests and counterprotests in Greensboro and across the South. By the end of the summer, the Greensboro diner was desegregated. Successes followed in other cities.

This February marks the 60th anniversary of the sit-ins. Henderson remembers the insults he heard on that day and others. He says it was worth it to “put Jim Crow on trial.”

Today Henderson faces a different kind of trial: “I still get called names by people who think I’m on the wrong side of history now.” In 2016, Henderson wrote an op-ed for The Charlotte Observer criticizing those who equated debates over transgender restroom policies with the civil rights battles he and thousands of others fought over racial prejudice.

Later that year, he publicly supported Donald Trump for president. He’s voted for GOP candidates for years because he opposes abortion and likes the party’s economic policies.

That makes Henderson a minority within a minority. Black voters have overwhelmingly supported Democrats since Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Nearly 98 percent backed President Barack Obama in 2008.

Henderson says critics have called him “an Uncle Tom” and “a sellout.” He still believes voters should think for themselves: “When someone tells you how to vote, they’re trying to tell you what to think instead of how to think.”

Voters like Henderson raise an intriguing question: Could Trump get enough support from black voters to make a difference in a tight 2020 election? Could a voting bloc that some pollsters consider unwinnable for Republicans help Trump win a second term?

Past voting patterns and current polls suggest a surge in African American support isn’t likely, but a surge might not be necessary. Moving the needle a few percentage points in key swing states could tip a close contest.

Even that seems unlikely to many pundits, considering some of Trump’s rhetoric. Still, the Trump campaign is working hard to reach black voters and may find unexpected allies in an under-the-radar policy fight.

Jamie Dean is WORLD’s national editor based in Charlotte, N.C.

Read the full article at WORLD.com.

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5 comments

  1. Keep putting it out there. Some will hate. But few shall get it.

  2. Many unpleasant things may be said about President Donald John Trump but if you study his background you know he is not a racist.

  3. Is this so simple no one(?) sees it or so powerful everyone fears to acknowledge it?

    Though our founders were flawed, as is all mankind, they gave us principles that are now law. That law is our First Law and can be found in the second sentence of page one of the entire US Code.

    That law states Biblical principles that acknowledge our Creator and the unalienable Rights He gives each of us at our creation.

    The principles of our First Law are the tools every voter should use before casting a ballot for any candidate. Those principles are the reason our founders gave us our Constitution and required each elected person to swear an oath to protect and defend that document which protects our Creator given unalienable Rights.

    If the person you intend to vote for on the 18th does not know the oath they are swearing or the First Law for which that oath was required, perhaps you should find a candidate that does, run yourself, or surrender to the slavery that ignorance implores.

  4. I’m Caucasian and almost a daily reader and viewer at BCN for 3 years now. I have recommended BCN to at least 15 friends and acquaintances because of the Great articles presented here. 8 of those recommendations were to people of Color
    10 friends have thanked me and say they visit here often.
    But only 4 of those people are Americans of African descent.
    That means that 50% of Black Americans that I’ve discussed life and politics and BNC.com with will have a much clearer view of what’s good for them and America when they Cast Their Votes this year.
    Sacramento, Ca.