Heads up, black and Latino and Jewish and LGBT people: The Trump campaign is coming for your votes. How is it coming for your votes? With lies, of course.
Team Trump is embracing a series of self-promoters eager to be the face of mythical moves away from the Democratic Party by members of its traditional base. There’s Brandon Straka, who’s trying to turn his status as “gay former liberal” into a movement, or at least a group with significant funding from Republican billionaires. There’s Candace Owens, a black conservative trying to promote “Blexit.” And there’s Jewish former Trump campaign staffer Elizabeth Pipko, who is also trying to raise money for a supposed effort to lead her people away from the Democratic Party, and yes, she’s calling it the Exodus Movement.
Straka’s organization, the Walk Away Campaign, has showed how well it fits in with the Trump mindset by promoting a video filled with lies—such as that Robert E. Lee and his wife “were huge slavery abolishment activists” and that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. Efforts like that have earned Straka a meeting with Lara Trump at Trump Tower and a meeting with Republican billionaire Joe Ricketts.
In addition to embracing astroturf efforts, the Trump campaign is also planning a digital advertising campaign targeting black and Latino voters and suburban white women with messages such as that Trump supports coverage for preexisting conditions (he does not).
But while Trump would surely like to blunt his losses among people of color if he can do so without actually giving up his racist policies, the big thing he needs to do with these efforts is reassure wavering white voters that he’s not too racist for their comfort levels. It’s the “some of my best friends are black” of politics, where Candace Owens and Diamond and Silk play the role of the black friends, with Brandon Straka and Elizabeth Pipko stepping in for their demographics. Of course, the only people who will buy this are those who need only a very small fig leaf covering up racism … but Team Trump is hoping that will be enough.
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