Joshua Green, author of “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency, explains how Trump lost his high favorability among African-Americans and Hispanics when he expressed doubts about Obama’s birth certificate.
Trump had shockingly been very popular with Hispanic and African-American viewers of “The Apprentice,” more so, more popular than he was with white viewers. And as I went and talked to people, African-American executives at advertising agencies, they told me, it’s not surprising to us that Trump was really popular with African-American voters back then because if you look at their portrayal on prime time television in the mid-2000’s, they were still by and large presented as gangsters or rappers or entertainers, but on “The Apprentice,” African-Americans were treated as ambitious entrepreneurs, coequal with everybody else, and Trump was the guy overseeing all of this. And that is one of the things that made “The Apprentice” and Donald Trump such a favourite of corporate America. He had all the big Fortune 500 companies advertising on “The Apprentice” because they wanted to be associated with this positive, multicultural television show. They could really appeal to the broadest swath of the American electorate or the American consumer.
So, there was a moment in 2010 where Trump really could have run as a different kind of Republican candidate. He could have embraced the critique that was later at the center of the GOP autopsy. The idea that the Republican party is too old and white and crusty. It needs to modernise and broaden its appeal to young people, to minorities, to all the types of people that are allergic to the Republican coalition.
But instead, Trump decided in 2010, 2011, to launch off on his birther rant which immediately plunged his favorability ratings with African-American voters, Hispanic voters soon followed, and he transformed into the hard right anti-immigrant politician that he is today.
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