On November 4, 2008, the United States achieved something that many older African-Americans feared they would never live to see: it elected its first black president — and in 2012, President Barack Obama won a second term. But Obama’s presidency was followed by the Donald Trump era, and according to a Washington Post/Ipsos poll conducted earlier this month, most African-Americans have a very low opinion of Obama’s successor in the White House: the poll found that eight out of ten blacks in the U.S. believe that President Trump is a racist.
Nine out of ten African-Americans, according to the poll, disapprove of Trump’s job performance — and 65% of African-Americans believe it is a “bad time” to be black in the United States.
A talking point one often hears in the right-wing media is that African-Americans have fared better under Trump than they did under Obama. But truth be told, the Great Recession ended under Obama; unemployment was down to 4.7% (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) in December 2016, Obama’s last full month in office. And the Post/Ipsos poll found that most African-Americans credit Obama more than Trump for the United States’ economic recovery: 77% of African-Americans, according to the Post and Ipsos, believe Trump deserves “only some” or “hardly any” of the credit for the decrease in black unemployment following the Great Recession.
The poll found most African-Americans to be pessimistic about the future: only 16% believe that black children born in the U.S. today have a “good opportunity to achieve a comfortable standard of living.”
Kenneth Davis, a 48-year-old African-American truck driver who lives in the Detroit suburbs, told the Post that Trump has encouraged racists to come out of the closet. Davis pointed to a white co-worker who is now “waving the Confederate flag on the back of his pickup truck.”
An African-American who responded to the survey asserted that Trump “has created an atmosphere of division and overt racism and fear of immigrants unseen in many years” — and another respondent told the Post that Trump “has taken hatred against people of color in general from the closet to the front porch.”
If any Democrats have doubts about the importance of the black vote to their party, the poll (which was conducted January 2-8) should shatter those doubts: the poll indicated that only about 4% or 5% of respondents are open to the possibility of voting for Trump in November. But African-Americans are more excited about some Democratic presidential candidates than others: the Post reports, “The level of Democratic support depends on who is the party’s nominee, peaking at 82% for former Vice President Joe Biden and falling to 57% for former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.