WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee is working alongside President Donald Trump's campaign to recruit Black, Latino and Asian-Pacific American voters to support his reelection even as the president has faced criticism for stoking racial tensions and culture wars.
The groups are reaching out directly to potential voters and the RNC is also targeting minority-focused media outlets to tout Trump's message. In recent weeks it placed op-eds in Spanish and Asian outlets to tout the start of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade.
The efforts are an extension of a Republican report after the 2012 election that concluded the party needed to attract more minorities to expand its base, according to party officials. In 2016 against Hillary Clinton, Trump drew only 8% of the Black vote, 28% of the Latino vote and 27% of the Asian vote.
Republicans are mindful that Trump won several states by slim margins and see any improvement this November as a chance to help in his fight against Joe Biden, who is leading in polls nationally and in battleground states.
"It's really about building the base of the party," Swati Singh, strategic initiatives director for the RNC, said. "We're recruiting volunteers that are taking the message to their communities."
Hispanics will account for about 13.3% of the electorate in 2020, nearly double the levels in 2000, according to the Pew Research Center. Blacks will comprise 12.5% of the electorate and Asians 4.7%, according to Pew.
A June New York Times-Siena College poll, conducted June 17-June 22, showed that only 5% of Blacks would vote for Trump and 25% of Hispanics would do so, a drop from 2016. The poll showed Biden getting 50% of votes from other non-whites.
The RNC is training volunteers who knock on doors, make phone calls, host meet-ups and other events as well as participate in voter registration drives, Singh said. The calls are being made in seven different languages.
"Because of the leadership, policies and inclusive economy of President Trump, we have been able to take our conservative message directly to a diverse group of voters, be it Black, Latino or Asian-Pacific Americans, and it is paying off," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in an emailed statement.
At his rallies and in other public remarks, Trump touted low unemployment figures for African Americans and other minorities before the economy was decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, in delivering remarks to highlight the June jobs report figures, he mentioned gains made by minorities.