The Trump campaign’s black outreach wasn’t sincere – many have noted such in countless publications and on various television and radio shows – but did it have to be so fucking incoherent, offensive, and alienating? A pursuit of black voters by the Trump campaign, which is staffed with oddities, was more effective at ensuring the GOP remain absent of diversity than it was at increasing the base of the party. Never before have I seen such a botched effort, political or otherwise, led by a man whose main characteristic is said to be his genius.
In Mr. Donald Trump’s message to black voters I didn’t identify him to be genius but rather an idiot savant; a man-child, prone to temper-tantrums, who’s undeniably brilliant at manipulating click-hungry news media and gullible distressed white working-class voters to gawk at his hype but whose handicap is clearly communicating and engaging African-Americans, those who don’t work for him or serve as his surrogates, in a way that’s genuine, direct, and not from a deficit perspective.
Indeed, when talking about African-Americans, Mr. Trump clusters them into one dusty box rather than appreciating and speaking to the nuance and fluidity of the race, and all the American institutions that benefit, or benefited, from black labor, service, genius and altruism.
For example, a self-proclaimed champion for vulnerable veterans, Mr. Trump has never once acknowledged that just thirty years ago, African-Americans occupied more management positions in the military than in any other sector; and that of the 2.1 million active-duty soldiers enlisted in 1986, 400,000 were black.
And to be such an aficionado of wealth, luxury, and education, Mr. Trump has never shouted-out the more than 30,000 black millionaires in this country; he’s been silent on the fact that by 2020, African-Americans’ combined spending power will be $1.4 trillion, which would make Black America the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product; and he’s completely disregarded that, though America’s public education system is far from great, high school graduation rates among Blacks have, according to a 2016 Nielsen Report, exceeded 70 percent, which outpaces the growth for all students nationwide.
None of these truths were ever articulated by Mr. Trump during his faux outreach to black voters. Instead, the Republican nominee exaggerated a daunting stereotype of Blacks, one that portrays the race as living in squalor, easily succumbed to crime or gun violence, poorly educated, without meaningful work and in need of over-policing.
On the issue of race, the Trump campaign grades a level below novice. Neither Mr. Trump nor his running-mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, appears to understand institutional racism or how systems of white supremacy can stand erect even with black faces at their helm. Both gentlemen have praised stop-and-frisk and called for increased powers to be granted to police while African-American leaders, laypeople and publications have condemned it and, to boot, called for a de-militarization of police and enhanced training.
While many black and brown activists are forcing upon the mainstream a long-overdue conversation about how they’re treated by law enforcement, Governor Pence said that we should halt said conversation, and implied that it divides, rather than unites, the American people.
Both Mr. Trump and Governor Pence couldn’t be any farther removed from the Black people whom they claim to want to engage, and if elected, represent. And neither man could be any more detached from reality than they already are. A more honest, though equally insulting, effort would have been if the damning duo just admitted their campaign’s target audience is non-black and brown people rather than initiate a faux outreach to show said target audience that they aren’t racist.
Racism, however subtle or blatant, has surely driven the Trump campaign, but so has incompetence. And on the matter of a faux black outreach, its incompetence that stars in the sideshow. Everyone knew the black outreach wasn’t sincere, so the Trump campaign didn’t have to exceed expectations as much as they just needed not to offend, and they failed extraordinarily at that.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo courtesy of the author.