Sunday, September 30, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He wondered out loud why he's not more popular with black voters.

This afternoon, Trump asked what appears to have been a genuine question in his mind.

Since Trump asked, there are several possible answers. One is that black voters understand perfectly well that for all Trump's talk of "record" economic numbers, there is nothing very unusual about them lately. As with many other economic indicators, the unemployment rate among African-Americans steadily recovered during the Obama administration from the bottom of the 2008 recession. 

Another possibility is that most black voters--like most American voters in general--are refusing to give Trump credit for economic "records" that haven't affected their bottom lines. Corporate profits and stock prices have gone up, but wage growth is flat--although Trump has tried to claim otherwise.

Finally, it's possible that black voters are weighing a static economic picture against the fact that Trump tried to keep black tenants out of his properties, ordered black employees off the floor of his casinos when he visited, assumed that a black reporter was the secretary for the Congressional Black Caucus, routinely lies about how popular he is with black voters, could not possibly know or care less about black history, can't promise there isn't videotape of him using racial slurs, said there were "some very fine people" among the white supremacists and neo-Nazis protesting the removal of Confederate statues, left terrorist acts off a list of terrorism if they were committed by white Americans, thinks that if a Congressional district is represented by a black person it must be "crime infested," (or, alternatively, thinks that black Americans are "living in hell"), thinks that predominantly black countries are "shitholes," called for the execution of black teenagers for a crime they were proven to not have committed, publicly supports a conspiracy theorist who accuses black Americans of wanting "white genocide,"and trolls black athletes and insults their intelligence--among other things.

Why should I care about this?

  • Presidents don't get to demand anyone's votes.
  • It is not a bad thing that racism has political consequences.
  • Whether or not Trump is willing to believe it, Kanye West is not a stand-in for every individual African-American.