Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump continued his "thank you" tour in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he slammed White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest after allegations that Russia's interference in the U.S. presidential election greatly benefited Trump. At the rally, the president-elect bragged about his victory in the Keystone State and pledged, once again, to repeal Obamacare. But things turned more awkward when before a largely white crowd he thanked "smart" African-American voters for not coming out to vote on Election Day.
Trump said, "that was the big thing, so thank you to the African-American community," the Chicago Tribune reported.
According to CNN, African-Americans — along with other communities of color — failed to show up at the polls in significant numbers, which helped propel Trump to victory. In addition, a Pew Research poll showed that Hillary Clinton won black voters by an 80% margin, but she did not garner as many votes from African-Americans as President Barack Obama did in 2012. The poll also found that Trump fared "little better among blacks and Hispanics than [Mitt] Romney did four years ago."
The lower turnout among black voters can be at least partially attributed to the Supreme Court's 2013 decision to remove a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that required federal approval on any state election law, according to PBS.
As a result, 14 states had restrictive voting laws in place this year, especially in key states such as Wisconsin where voter ID laws caused problems at the polls. Milwaukee's elections chief Neil Albrecht told the Chicago Tribune that voter ID requirements affected the city's four districts with the most "transient, high poverty residents."
Days prior to Election Day, black voters showed little enthusiasm for this year's presidential race. According to a poll conducted by the African American Research Collaborative, only 20% of black voters said they were more excited to vote Nov. 8, compared with 2012, when 54% said they were more excited to cast their ballots.