How many votes can Trump grasp from ethnic minorities?

by Alessio Dell’Anna

There might be more support for Trump among American minorities than we think.

As the end of the campaign sees a neck-and-neck race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, ethnic minorities disillusioned with the Democrats might play a key role in determining the winner.

Ethnic minorities account for almost 40 per cent of the American population, and Trump has made them his number one priority in his latest rallies. His most important recent initiative was to propose a ‘New Deal for Black America’ during his rally in Charlotte, North Carolina: a pact for safer communities, higher salaries and easier possibilities for “black owned” businesses to get credit.

Support for Hillary Clinton has never been exceptional among these groups. Many activists, from DeRay McKesson of ‘Black Lives Matter’ to Erica Mines of the ‘Philly Coalition for REAL Justice’, have expressed doubts about her. Also, nobody knows for sure where the vote of the Afro-American millennials, who overwhelmingly supported Sanders during the primary elections (46% vs 28%) is going to go.

But who are the minorities likely to vote for Trump? Professor Inderjeet Parmar, Head of the Department of International Politics at City, University of London, said: “there are some conservative Afro-Americans and Hispanics that are afraid of illegal immigration because it causes problems of integration and bad reputation among the legal immigrants. They tend to earn large salaries – around $150,000 (£121,000) pa – and like low taxes and ‘law and order’ politics.”

Indeed, a sense of distance between different segments of the same community exists. Founder of Latinos for Trump, Marco Gutierez, defined Hispanics as “a primitive and underdeveloped culture”, fearing the risk of “taco trucks on every corner” if Clinton wins.

However, Trump has gathered minorities’ support – and not only from the most privileged groups.

D. Bell is a young Afro-American warehouse worker who became a YouTube star after releasing a series of pro-Trump videos. Since, he has been insulted and threatened and prefers to keep his full details private. According to Bell, it is necessary to overcome old left-right differences, and use pragmatism to challenge the establishment from the bottom to the top: “We need new people and new ideas. Trump is not a politician. He doesn’t speak the language of politicians. His language is fair and direct, which is what we need to change things. People are not truthful about the state of many communities because they want to retain stature or, in many cases, profits”.

Bell is not the only one using social media as a political podium. ‘Diamonds and Silk’ are two Afro-American sisters from North Carolina, a battleground state, who reach half a million Facebook users daily with their videos. Other groups are flourishing on Twitter, with pages like “Immigrants for Trump”, “Latinos with Trump” and “Asians for Trump”, some of them counting more than 60,000 followers.

Vice-chair of Diversity Outreach for Trump and former Sanders supporter Brunell Donald-Kyei forecasted a 16 to 25 per cent vote for Trump among minorities (a prediction considered unrealistic by Professor Parmar). However, taking the examples above into account, along with a large sense of political disaffection across the country in general, minorities’ votes for Trump should not be underestimated in this election.

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