Michael L Ondaatje

In conversation with Michael L. Ondaatje on Donald Trump

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 07 October 2020

In this week’s ABR Podcast, Peter Rose speaks to Michael L. Ondaatje (Professor of History at the Australian Catholic University) about black American voters’ attitudes towards Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They also discuss recent startling developments in an already tumultuous presidential election. 

Michael L. Ondaatje’s article ‘Black and Republican in the age of Trump’ is one of a series of commentaries funded by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. It appears in the October issue.

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Black and Republican in the Age of Trump

Michael L. Ondaatje
Thursday, 24 September 2020

While on the campaign trail against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Donald Trump appeared to deviate from a scripted speech he was delivering in Dimondale, Michigan. What followed was remarkable: ‘At the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over ninety-five per cent of the African-American vote. I promise you.’ Undaunted by six decades of black voting behaviour and his own poor standing with African-Americans, not to mention the fact that he had yet to defeat Clinton, Trump promised a ‘new deal for black America’ that would spark a decisive black shift to the Republican Party. African-Americans had long been the nation’s most partisan racial group: since 1964, no Republican presidential candidate had won more than thirteen per cent of the black vote, and no Democrat less than eighty-two per cent. Yet Trump, a man with a long and divisive racial history, vowed that he would soon rival Barack Obama for electoral appeal among African-Americans.

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