President Trump’s entire approach to people of color — his attacks on political leaders, his campaign’s social media strategy targeting the black electorate, his ability to fuel black opposition but also demoralize some black voters — is one of the most extraordinary political dynamics of the Trump era. No modern president has ever vilified black Americans or sought to divide people along racial lines like Mr. Trump, while also claiming to be a champion of their economic interests….
The online ad that Mr. Greer saw illustrates the audacious nature of Mr. Trump’s strategy. Even as the president sows racial disharmony, telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back,” and saying “no human being” would want to live in the “rat and rodent infested” city of Baltimore, his re-election campaign is spending money on social media to put Mr. Trump before the eyes of black voters.
The objectives are twofold: First, to try to win over a handful of black voters. The campaign intends to highlight low rates of African-American unemployment and the criminal justice overhaul the president signed, a measure that is already a subject of his campaign’s Facebook advertising.
But the more clandestine hope, and one privately acknowledged by Trump allies, is that the president can make black voters think twice about turning out for Democrats or expending energy on trying to change a system some African-Americans believe is unalterably stacked against them.