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Aaron Gould Sheinin

Newt Gingrich to black voters: Take a chance on Donald Trump

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September 12, 2016 KENNESAW: Newt Gingrich has his picture taken with a member of the crowd after hosting a town hall in support of Donald Trump at Kennesaw State University on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Kennesaw.   Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

September 12, 2016 KENNESAW: Newt Gingrich has his picture taken with a member of the crowd after hosting a town hall in support of Donald Trump at Kennesaw State University on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in Kennesaw. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

During Newt Gingrich’s town hall at Kennesaw State University on Monday, the topic of Donald Trump’s appeal — or lack thereof — to African-American voters came up several times.

Gingrich himself, in between calls for prayers for and digs at Hillary Clinton, raised it often. In decrying Clinton’s comments about Trump’s “deplorable” supporters, Gingrich said the failed policies of the left are “literally condemning generations of young African-Americans to a hopeless future. How are you going to debate that?”

During a question-and-answer period, a young man said he is black, Muslim and from Detroit, a city Gingrich had just vilified as “failing so badly that only 5 or 6 percent of the third graders can read.” (Gingrich offered no evidence for this. And while the state of Detroit’s schools are certainly troubled, it appears things are not as bad as Gingrich implied.”

The questioner wanted to know “how do you plan to get black and minority voters to step up and fix inner-city problems?”

Gingrich said Trump is “laying out a program, for example, allowing people to choose whether or not to send their children to a school that is failing,” and will bring a change in policing that led Rudy Giuliani to make New York City safe and family friendly.

But Gingrich’s big sell was on the idea that in many big cities problems of jobs, education and housing remain and that in most of them that’s after generations of Democratic rule. In the worst neighborhoods of those cities, what does voting the same way over and over produce?

“If you live in the worst neighborhoods are you at least willing to gamble” and vote for Trump? Gingrich said. “I think it’s time to take a chance. And if you do you’ll see flood tide because they’ve worked desperately hard to suppress people to say you’re not allowed to be for Trump.”