Yesterday in West Bend, Wisconsin, Donald Trump delivered a speech that was described as being on law and order. True enough, but it was much more than that. Trump powerfully wove together his campaign’s themes in a direct appeal for African-American votes. You can read the speech here. Of course, Trump didn’t deliver it exactly as written, but it was close, with no notable deviations that I noticed. Excerpts are below. This is the video of the speech in its entirety:
This is from the law and order portion of the speech:
The violence, riots and destruction that have taken place in Milwaukee is an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and peace.
Law and order must be restored. It must be restored for the sake of all, but most especially the sake of those living in the affected communities.
The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods. It is their jobs, their homes, their schools and communities which will suffer as a result.
There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump Administration.
The narrative that has been pushed aggressively for years now by our current Administration, and pushed by my opponent Hillary Clinton, is a false one. The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police, the problem is that there are not enough police.
More law enforcement, more community engagement, more effective policing is what our country needs.
Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police. You know it, and I know it. Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society – a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent – share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country.
They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.
Every time we rush to judgment with false facts and narratives – whether in Ferguson or in Baltimore – and foment further unrest, we do a direct disservice to poor African-American residents who are hurt by the high crime in their communities.
Those words are true, and they will be welcomed by something like 85% of voters. The Democrats’ association with Black Lives Matter, with rioters and with anti-police elements generally is deeply unpopular.
Trump appealed directly to African-American voters. These excerpts are drawn from different portions of his speech:
The war on our police is a war on all peaceful citizens who want to be able to work and live and send their kids to school in safety.
Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, the violent disruptor. Our job is to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent who wants their kids to be able to safely walk the streets. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.
The Hillary Clinton agenda hurts poor people the most.
There is no compassion in allowing drug dealers, gang members, and felons to prey on innocent people. It is the first duty of government to keep the innocent safe, and when I am President I will fight for the safety of every American – and especially those Americans who have not known safety for a very, very long time.
I am asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different future.
It is time for our society to address some honest and very difficult truths.
The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community. Democratic crime policies, education policies, and economic policies have produced only more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty.
Let us look at the situation right here in Milwaukee, a city run by Democrats for decade after decade. Last year, killings in this city increased by 69 percent, plus another 634 victims of non-fatal shootings. 18-29-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the homicide victims. The poverty rate here is nearly double the national average. Almost 4 in 10 African-American men in Milwaukee between the ages of 25-54 do not have a job. Nearly four in 10 single mother households are living in poverty. 55 public schools in this city have been rated as failing to meet expectations, despite ten thousand dollars in funding per-pupil. There is only a 60% graduation rate, and it’s one of the worst public school systems in the country.
To every voter in Milwaukee, to every voter living in every inner city, or every forgotten stretch of our society, I am running to offer you a better future.
The Democratic Party has taken the votes of African-Americans for granted. They’ve just assumed they’ll get your support and done nothing in return for it. It’s time to give the Democrats some competition for these votes, and it’s time to rebuild the inner cities of America – and to reject the failed leadership of a rigged political system.
We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes, not as individual human beings worthy of a better future. She doesn’t care at all about the hurting people of this country, or the suffering she has caused them.
The African-American community has been taken for granted for decades by the Democratic Party. It’s time to break with the failures of the past – I want to offer Americans a new future.
It is time for rule by the people, not rule by special interests.
Every insider, getting rich off of our broken system, is throwing money at Hillary Clinton. The hedge fund managers, the Wall Street investors, the professional political class.
It’s the powerful protecting the powerful. Insiders fighting for insiders. I am fighting for you.
The Democratic Party has run nearly every inner city in this country for 50 years, and run them into financial ruin.
They’ve ruined the schools.
They’ve driven out the jobs.
They’ve tolerated a level of crime no American should consider acceptable.
Violent crime has risen 17% in America’s 50 largest cities last year. Killings of police officers this year is up nearly 50 percent. Homicides are up more than 60% in Baltimore. They are up more than 50% in Washington, D.C.
This is the future offered by Hillary Clinton. More poverty, more crime, and more of the same. The future she offers is the most pessimistic thing I can possibly imagine.
It is time for a different future.
That is powerful stuff. The Democrats can only hope that the press doesn’t let their urban voters hear Trump’s message.
Trump wove his trademark immigration issue into the narrative:
First, on immigration. No community in this country has been hurt worse by Hillary Clinton’s immigration policies than the African-American community. Now she is proposing to print instant work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, taking jobs directly from low-income Americans. I will secure our border, protect our workers, and improve jobs and wages in your community. We will only invite people to join our country who share our tolerant values, who support our Constitution, and who love all of our people.
Trump is right on the facts, and polls indicate that his policies are extremely popular with African-American voters. Trump also came out for school choice and merit pay for teachers:
Hillary Clinton would rather deny opportunities to millions of young African-American children, just so she can curry favor with the education bureaucracy.
That’s true. And it isn’t just Hillary, it is the entire Democratic Party, at every level.
There was much more, especially on corruption. But the bottom line is that Donald Trump did exactly what conservatives have been saying for years that Republican politicians should do. He asked for African-American votes, explicitly and aggressively. He called out the Democrats for their failed policies. Urban American has been voting Democrat for a century, and how has that worked out? Badly. Democrats count on African-American votes, but their policies on public safety, immigration, education and trade (here I think Trump is mostly wrong), among others, consistently screw black Americans. Why not try something different?
If Trump keeps giving this speech, and variants on it, for the next 90 days he will win the election. He needs, above all, to maintain message discipline. Yesterday, he riffed a bit here and there, but not substantively. He stuck to his script and delivered his message powerfully. He needs to keep that up until Election Day.
One more thing about Trump’s Wisconsin speech is notable: He was introduced by Scott Walker, and Reince Preibus and Rudy Giuliani were prominently in attendance. Trump is inherently more powerful when he speaks in the context of approval by luminaries like those who showed up to support him in West Bend. It is time, I think, with all due respect to those who have resisted Trump as the Republican standard bearer, for the party to unite behind its nominee.
Finally: the title of this post ends with an asterisk. Speeches like the one Trump gave in Wisconsin will win him the presidency, but only if voters hear them or otherwise learn about them. The Democratic Party media will do everything possible to prevent that from happening.
So, for example, the liberal media led this morning not with stories about Trump’s speech, which would have damaged their preferred candidate, but rather with stories about his campaign staff shakeup. Trump needs to circumvent the liberal media in a manner that was not necessary when they largely cheered him on during the primary season. In that respect the debates, when voters will see Trump unfiltered by his enemies, likely will be critical.