The Slatest

Trump to Black Voters: You’re Poor, So Why the Hell Don’t You Vote for Me

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Friday in Dimondale, Michigan.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

In a speech in Dimondale, Michigan, on Friday directed at winning over black voters, Donald Trump detoured from his prepared remarks in order to tell black voters that their lives are terrible and can only be improved by voting for Donald Trump.

“What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?” he said. “What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty; your schools are no good; you have no jobs; 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”


Never mind that Trump—who recently polled at 1 percent among black voters in a nationwide survey—was treating black people as a monolithic group of poor, unemployed people. His ad-libbed “what the hell do you have to lose” line sounded very much like Trump thinks he knows what’s better for black voters than they know for themselves.


Compare Trump’s actual statements with his prepared remarks and you can see how badly he went off the rails:

Look at how much African-American communities have suffered under Democratic Control. To those hurting, I say: what do you have to lose by trying something new?

There were other moments where Trump veered wildly off-script in a way that seemed absurd. Specifically, Trump said that he would not just win this election, but win re-election in 2020 with 95 percent of black voters supporting him—again, earlier this month Trump’s polling among black voters was somewhere between 1 and 4 percent.

“At the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get 95 percent of the African-American vote,” he said. “I promise you, because I will produce for the inner cities and I will produce for the African-Americans.”

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.