Trump Deludes Himself Into Believing He Did Well Among African-American Voters

During the same Black History Month event I referenced earlier, Donald Trump claimed that he did “substantially better” among African-American voters than previous Republican candidates:

“If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting — I won’t go into details — but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now we’re going to take that to new levels.”

As it turns out, he was wrong about that:

Here’s what the exit polls show for the percentage share of black votes in the presidential elections since 1972.

                   Democrat Republican
2016                  89             8
2012                  93             6
2008                 95             4
2004                 88            11
2000                 90             9
1996                  84            12
1992                  83            10
1988                  86            12
1984                  90             9
1980                  85            11
1976                  83            16
1972                  82            18

Trump appears to have focused on the fact that he got 8 percent of the vote vs. 6 percent for Mitt Romney in 2012 and 4 percent for John McCain in 2008. In the polling world, a two- or even four-percentage-point shift is relatively small. It certainly does not qualify as “substantially more.”

Moreover, who was running as a Democrat in 2008 and 2012? Oh, yes, the first African American candidate, Barack Obama. Trump was not running against a black man, so that further discounts his claims of a substantial achievement.

Strictly by the numbers, Trump actually did worse than any Republican running against a white man, though in effect he came close to tying George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in 1984.

So, except for the two elections where there was an African-American on the ballot, Trump did worse among African-Americans than any Republican in the past forty-five years. The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler gives Trump three Pinocchios for this claim. One thing you can say about Trump, he’ll keep the fact checkers busy over the next four to eight years.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. CSK says:

    Hey, he’s just going by “alternative facts.”

    Seriously: This is just another example of Trump’s ability to convince himself and his drooling acolytes that reality is whatever he wants it to be.

  2. M. Bouffant says:

    I won’t go into details

    Say, isn’t that where the devil is, in the “details”?

  3. Ferrell says:

    One thing you can say about Trump, he’ll keep the fact checkers busy over the next four to eight years.

    For the love of all that is holy, please don’t let him be president for eight years.

  4. al-Alameda says:

    Remember when Trump, during the campaign at one of the debates, was asked to respond to the release of the audio tape that included his comments about groping women as he pleased, responded by saying, “they’re just words”?

    That’s pretty much how Trump rolls. After all, he’s a salesman / con man – words are whatever he wants them to be. He’s extremely adept at avoiding fallout and negative consequences for his various malpractices, whether in business, or now, in politics.

  5. SenyorDave says:

    Remember, he’s a student of black history. Here he is at an event for Black History Month, showing his depth of knowledge:

    I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.

    Does he think Frederick Douglas is still alive? And what’s with the “big impact”? Not significant enough to have made a Yuge impact?

    What an ignorant man.

  6. Kylopod says:

    What gives you the impression he’s “deluded” about this? Was he “deluded” when he claimed the Trump Steaks were still on the market by holding up a steak bearing the label of a different company?

    He isn’t deluded, he’s lying. It’s just that people have a hard time believing anyone would deliberately lie about stuff so obviously false and easily disproven. And yet that’s what he does. Over and over and over.

  7. Pch101 says:

    Trump is a sociopath.

    He does not lie because he is deluded, nor does he lie for the sake of it. For a guy like Trump, the truth simply means nothing at all. Sociopaths lack remorse, so they don’t worry about such things.

  8. Kylopod says:

    @Pch101: I agree he’s a sociopath, and a narcissist as well. But I’d add that there are many sociopaths and narcissists who are a lot more subtle than he is. He seems to have a pathological habit of repeatedly and boldly declaring himself to be the awesomest awesomesauce in the awesomeverse, without worrying about how ridiculous he comes off sounding to most people. It’s one of his most peculiar traits, which I haven’t generally seen in other politicians (with the possible exception of Gingrich–who once said “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz”), including the most unprincipled ones.

  9. Pch101 says:

    Trump has absolutely no concern about whether his statements are true or false.

    Trump is a narcissist who cares only about getting his way, bullying whoever he can and pumping up his own ego.

    Because of this, much of what he says is a lie because reality doesn’t conform with his wishes. However, he doesn’t actually care whether he is lying.

    If he did care, then he would do a better job of covering his tracks. A good propagandist will mix enough truth with fiction that it creates confusion. Goebbels knew that he was lying and tried to do it well; Trump simply doesn’t care.

  10. Monala says:

    One interesting thing to note – given how often Republicans chide Democratic black voters for voting for Obama “based on race” – the fact that Romney and McCain got much smaller shares of the black vote than most Republican candidates means that much of Obama’s increased share of black voters came from black Republicans.

  11. bill says:

    He did better than McCain and Romney- that’s something! But who really cares about a voting bloc that can’t wean itself off the democrat teat?! Sure, as they become more aware of reality it could happen- won’t hold my breath waiting.
    How many blacks even knew Obama was only half black?! And most are clueless about who gave them the right to vote let alone ended slavery. I’d have to assume that liberals like keeping them in horrible public schools where they can’t learn anything vs losing their votes eventually.

  12. MBunge says:

    Trump says he did better with black voters than other candidates “in the past years.”

    He, in fact, did do substantially better than the past two GOP candidates.

    “Oh, but that doesn’t count because Obama!” Yet before the election, none of you seemed to credit Obama with any remarkable political appeal and were absolutely convinced that Hillary Clinton would match his electoral achievement.

    As time passes, it gets easier and easier to understand how Trump won.


  13. al-Ameda says:


    How many blacks even knew Obama was only half black?! And most are clueless about who gave them the right to vote let alone ended slavery.

    So you’re saying that Black people are too stupid to know that since 1972 Republicans have run a Southern Strategy aimed at playing to White resentment and anger over Democratic support for civil rights and voting rights for Blacks? That Black people just do not know how to vote in their best interest?

    Also, you do realize that opposition to civil and voting rights legislation was dominantly a regional phenomenon – Southern Republicans and Democrats opposed, and Northern Republicans and Democrats supported such legislation.

  14. Kylopod says:


    How many blacks even knew Obama was only half black?!

    First of all, most African Americans are mixed themselves. The concept isn’t as alien to them as you seem to think. Second, Obama’s life story is widely known (it was a big part of his rise in the first place), not some covered-up secret. Besides, you only have to take one look at the man to suspect he’s of mixed background. He has brown skin but Caucasian features (he looks quite a bit like his white grandfather, in fact). It’s like asking “How many blacks even know Halle Berry is only half-black?” For someone who claims to have a black girlfriend, you seem strikingly ignorant about the black community.

  15. Monala says:

    @MBunge: 2% better than Romney, and 4% better than McCain is “substantially better”? No, not really.