Trump is trying to win Black voters in 2020 — based on one piece of passed legislation he complained about after signing
US President Donald Trump has an unpredictable negotiating style and likes to break with precedent. (AFP/File / SAUL LOEB)

On Saturday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump is planning a huge offensive to try to recapture the suburban, well-educated voters the Republican Party lost in 2018 that helped Democrats seize control of the House — a bloc of voters that he will almost certainly need to make inroads with to win re-election.

But he is also going after another bloc of voters that the GOP has never done well with in modern history: African-Americans.

"Buoyed by his impeachment acquittal and the muddled Democratic primary race, President Trump and his campaign are turning to address his re-election bid’s greatest weaknesses with an aggressive, well-funded but uncertain effort to win back suburban voters turned off by his policies and behavior," wrote Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, and Jonathan Martin "Among the goals is trying to appeal to black voters and suburban and upper-income white voters with ads such as a spot focusing on criminal justice reform that first aired during the Super Bowl and is continuing on cable channels with large female audiences, like Bravo and Lifetime."

The president has signed on to some bipartisan initiatives to reform federal sentencing like the FIRST STEP Act, and has commuted the sentences of some Black inmates. He also made a big public showing of trying to bring home rapper A$AP Rocky from Sweden when he was charged there.

But he has massive obstacles to overcome. 8 in 10 Black voters believe the president is a racist, according to recent polls. And while the FIRST STEP Act does improve sentencing, Trump actually complained behind closed doors that Jared Kushner's idea to support it was stupid. Meanwhile, his Justice Department has taken many regressive steps as well, including shutting down a federal unit tasked with preventing white supremacist violence.