NAACP leader: Trump is motivating minorities to vote against him in midterms

NAACP leader Jamal Watkins says President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE is motivating persons of color to vote in November's midterm elections, but probably not in the way he hopes. 

“What we’re facing is that communities, in particular communities of color, are feeling the sort of impact of the tone he [President Trump] is setting in this country as it relates to who they are, their conditions, the policies that affect these communities and families,” Watkins, who is the vice president of civic engagement at the NAACP, told Hill.TV in an interview on Thursday.

“It’s a motivating factor probably in the opposite direction of what the president would want in terms of voting pattern,” he added.

Watkins cited an uptick in voter registration in key states like Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. Midterm elections typically have lower turnout, but Watkins said Trump is motivating a surge even though he's not on the ballot.

The NAACP leader also said voters are now paying more attention to elections at a state and local level as some of Trump’s policies and rhetoric take root in their communities. Watkins says the three top issues driving African American voters – and voters of color as a whole – are healthcare, the economy and police brutality.

“They remember that if you fall asleep during these election periods, you lose more at the local level, which impacts you different way than say what’s coming out of the White House,” Watkins said.

Watkins joined “Rising” to discuss a recent survey conducted for the NAACP, which found that sixty-four percent of voters think it’s more important to vote in the upcoming midterm elections than it was in 2014. 

According to the same poll, 21 percent of African Americans surveyed approved of Trump, compared with 35 percent of Latinos and 50 percent of whites. Across Latino and black voters, everyone said it was at least twice as important to vote in 2018 compared to 2014.

The survey pulled data from voters in 61 of the nation’s most competitive midterm races across the country.

— Tess Bonn