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Rob Smith, a black Iraq War veteran and political analyst, penned an op-ed run by Fox News that spoke to how President Trump could win the African-American vote in November.
In effect, Smith, a spokesperson for Turning Point USA, reduced it down to five simple words: “School Choice For Black Kids.”
There’s lots of speculation over just how much support the president does or doesn’t have among black voters. When 2020 first embarked upon the scene — a lifetime ago, given all that has transpired — there was polling suggesting that Trump had over 30% support among black voters.
Support at this level would spell total doom for the Democratic Party, and it may shed a little light on the ferocity of the racially-divisive Black Lives Matter campaign that is running strong.
Smith sees school choice as an issue that Trump should embrace.
“All across America, African American children are trapped in failing schools that are teaching them nothing, held hostage by power-hungry teachers’ unions that too often protect bad teachers and Democratic politicians who think that pumping endless streams of taxpayer money into these schools will turn around their dismal performance,” he wrote.
Citing his own experience attending underperforming schools in Akron, Ohio, Smith said his mother saw in kindergarten that he was not learning and that teachers were largely disinterested.
“Right then and there she decided to pull me out of that school and send me to a better-performing school across town, using my grandfather’s address,” he said. “She had a choice and she used it, to the betterment of my education.”
Falling back to underperforming schools during his middle and high school years, the Columbia University graduate attributes the U.S. Army for opening the door to getting a college education.
Smith cited a passage from his just released Iraq War memoir “Always a Soldier“:
“In a 98 percent black school, where athletics were placed at a higher priority than academics, the guidance counselors didn’t quite know what to do with the fat kid who hadn’t played a sport in his life. My parents didn’t have the money for college, and I just kind of slipped through the cracks. All of the above is how I found myself dialing the number to the Army recruiting office in hopes of doing something and perhaps getting to go to college after my service.”
And he noted that there are millions of Black kids out there right now struggling just as he once was.
“They’re failed by crumbling public schools, taught little to nothing by bad teachers and overlooked by overloaded counselors. Their educational and financial futures can be saved by one thing: school choice,” Smith wrote.
“Embracing school choice and presenting that message to African American parents who don’t want their children in failing schools will do little to dissuade the endless rotation of Black liberal pundits who have made entire careers out of calling Trump ‘racist,'” he continued “Despite them, there are signs that the message resonates among Black voters. Black women, in particular.”
The decorated war veteran cited the 2018 governor’s race in Florida, that was won by Republican Ron DeSantis, a Republican who beat Democrat Andrew Gillum by fewer than 33,000 votes — DeSantis was an advocate for charter schools, while Gillum was very much opposed to them, Smith said.
He pointed to Wall Street Journal analysis of that election, which showed DeSantis getting 18% of the roughly 650,000 votes by black women that year — that was twice as many votes as Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.
“While 18 percent of the black female vote in Florida is equal to less than 2 percent of the total electorate, in an election decided by fewer than (32,463) votes, these 100,000 black women proved decisive,” the Journal observed.
Smith insists that school choice is a message that not only resonates, but gets results.
“While there is much on the President’s plate when it comes to shaping an agenda for 2020 and beyond, focusing on School Choice For Black Kids as he crafts a message to African American voters will put him on the right side of history in what is, in his words, one of the great civil rights battles of our time,” he concluded.
“Black kids are on the front lines. And if President Trump can focus on this message to their parents, he will win in 2020. And our kids will win in the future.”
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