Rob Smith: 5 words Trump can use to help win the African American vote in 2020

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Rob Smith: 5 words Trump can use to help win the African American vote in 2020

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.

Donald Trump can speak to the voting parents of these children with five words: School Choice For Black Kids.

I’m an advocate for school choice because of my own experience attending underperforming schools in Akron, Ohio. My mother often recounts a story of discovering me sitting quietly in a kindergarten classroom while chaos went on all around me.

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Children were not learning. The teacher was disinterested. Right then and there she decided to pull me out of that school and send me to a better-performing high school across town, using my grandfather’s address. She had a choice and she used it, to the betterment of my education.

Unfortunately, by the time middle and high school came around, I was forced to go to underperforming schools in my own neighborhood. By graduation, I had no guidance or any real prospects. Though I cherish my military service, the dim prospects provided by my substandard public education, teachers and counselors definitely factored into why I joined. As I say in my newly released Iraq War memoir “Always a Soldier“:

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“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.”

There are millions of Black kids out there right now struggling just like I 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.

As President Trump has said: “We’re fighting for school choice, which really is the civil rights [issue] of all time in this country. Frankly, school choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade, and probably beyond, because all children have to have access to quality education.”

The school choice message is one that resonates. It is one that gets results.

Of course, 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.” Despite them, there are signs that the message resonates among Black voters. Black women, in particular.

In Florida’s hotly contested 2018 race for governor, Ron DeSantis edged out Andrew Gillum by fewer than 33,000 votes. DeSantis was an advocate for charter schools, while Gillum was very much opposed to them. According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Of the roughly 650,000 black women who voted in Florida, 18 percent chose Mr. DeSantis, according to CNN’s exit poll of 3,108 voters. This exceeded their support for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott (9 percent), Mr. DeSantis’s performance among black men (8 percent) and the GOP’s national average among black women (7 percent).

“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.”

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The school choice message is one that resonates. It is one that 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.

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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