The problem with Trump’s question to black voters, ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’

From The Washington Post:

Donald Trump has a new strategy to win black voters, who are overwhelmingly rejecting him in polls. Black voters consistently support Democrats, but Trump argues that things couldn’t get any worse for them if he were in the White House, so they might as well try supporting a Republican candidate.

“Look at how much African American communities are suffering from Democratic control. To those I say the following: What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?” he said on Friday. “You live in your poverty, your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Trump’s comments imply that he cannot imagine any greater misery for African Americans than the lives they live today. Many black voters, however, have themselves lived through worse.

To be sure, there are still large racial disparities in income, health, education, criminal justice and more. Yet the evidence suggests that the lives of African Americans have improved substantially over the past several decades.

White workers still make substantially more than black workers, for example. The typical white man earned $52,000 working full time year round in 2014, according to the Census. For black men, the figure was $41,000. White women also earned about $41,000 that year, while black women earned about $35,000 on average.

Yet incomes for black workers are increasing. Black men’s average annual earnings were about $38,000 in 1973, while white men’s earnings have declined since then. The divergence suggests that black men’s wages increased despite trends in the broader economy that may have reduced men’s wages in general, such as the decline of unions and increasing competition from a growing number of female workers.

Black women’s wages increased from $27,000 in 1973, an increase of 25 percent over four decades. White women enjoyed similar gains.

While incomes fluctuate from year to year with the economy, …

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