US election: Donald Trump seeks African American votes

Promises made by Republican presidential nominee to lift black people from poverty criticised as racist and ignorant.

    With polls showing Donald Trump receiving hardly any support among black voters, the Republican presidential nominee made a new pitch to them: "What the hell do you have to lose?"

    Speaking to a nearly all-white crowd at a rally in Dimondale, Michigan, on Friday, Trump promised America's more than 35 million African Americans a better life if they voted for him.

    Young US voters are rejecting Donald Trump, poll says

    "Look how much African American communities are suffering under Democratic control.

    "To those I say the following: What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?" he said.

    "You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs ... What the hell do you have to lose?"

    Marlon Marshall, a senior member of the Democratic nominee's campaign, criticised Trump as "painting the entire African American community as living in poverty with no jobs". 

    African Americans have overwhelmingly identified as Democrats since the 1950s. 

    Almost no support

    Trump's presidential bid has seen black voter support for the Republican party sink to new lows.

    Polls taken since last month's party conventions show him with only 1 or 2 percent support among blacks.

    Many cannot forget Trump's insistence during the 2012 election that President Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, was foreign-born and therefore unqualified for the White House.

    Obama provided his birth certificate, showing he was born in Hawaii.

    "No group in America has been more harmed by Hillary Clinton's policies than African Americans," Trump said on Friday.

    "If Hillary Clinton's goal was to inflict pain on the African American community, she could not have done a better job. It's a disgrace."

    After the speech, Clinton took to Twitter and wrote: "This is so ignorant it is staggering."

    Trump promised in the speech that if elected in November, he will receive "over 95 per cent of the African American vote" when he runs for re-election in 2020.

    Here are some responses to Trump's attempt to gain support from black voters in run-up to November's election:

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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