Every so often you see a poll, and say, “Well, duh.” The Washington Post/Ipsos poll of African American voters is one such poll. The survey found that 80 percent of African Americans considered Trump to be racist and were pessimistic about the future and race relations. What’s surprising was that about 20 percent of those surveyed didn’t share this view. However, the rise of Trump has shown that there are wide swaths of this country who are aggressively ignorant, don’t read and easily swayed by propaganda. Unfortunately, some black people fall into that group.
I used to be friends with an intelligent older, black man, who possessed a law degree and an MBA. But I ended the friendship in 2016 because he was a Trump supporter. I pointed out that Trump was a racist and his views were driving traffic to white supremacist websites. (ProPublica reported that the Daily Stormer, home to some of the vilest racial content online, saw a 30 percent increase in traffic in 2016.) His response was these were stories made up by the news media.
It shouldn’t be surprising that a minority of black people still remain pro-Trump. As “Background Briefing” host Ian Masters says, Americans are currently debating the truth. There is no objective truth on many issues. Topics such as climate change, the safety of vaccines and the shape of the Earth, which are proven facts, are up for debate. By the way, the habit of questioning everything and believing nothing is a Russian disinformation tactic also used by Vladimir Putin.
But here are some of the ways Trump is bad for black people.
- Trump is a racist. He has harbored white supremacist views for a long time. Back in 1973, he lost a battle with the EEOC for refusing to sell homes to black people. In typical, Trump fashion, he declared he had won the case, even though he settled. Now he’s president, he’s appointed fellow white supremacists, such as Stephen Miller and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to positions of power, where they put their animosity of people of color to work. Sessions said he wanted to relaunch the disastrous War on Drugs. Most people who have studied the War on Drugs realize that it was actually a war on black people. The War on Drugs gave the government an excuse to lock up millions of black people, stripping them of their voting rights and enlarging the Prison-Industrial Complex. Black people weren’t the only ones using drugs, but they were often the street retailers who bore the brunt of mass incarceration. Thirty years later, cannabis is legal and the drug problem is still here, both proving the failure of the War on Drugs. But black communities still bear the scars of decades of mass incarceration. You might be a middle-class or wealthy black person, who benefited from Trump’s tax cuts, but if he gave Sessions the green light to restart the War on Drugs, it would be you and your children in the police crosshairs.
- About 9 percent of the black population is foreign-born, people from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Trump is a white nationalist who wants America to go back to the 1950s. As former intelligence officer Malcolm Nance says, he wants the white male power structure to stay in power. Trump also referred to African countries as “shi*t hole countries” and has favored more immigration from mainly white European countries. Trump and other white nationalists, such as Miller and former Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, want America to retain its white majority. If Trump has his way, non-whites will have no place at the table.
- According to a 2018 Council on Foreign Relations study, almost half of military recruits are black or Hispanic, even though both groups consist of about 30 percent of the population combined. Trump’s haphazard use of the military has already cost black soldiers their lives. In the early days of his presidency, Trump rashly committed to a strike in Mali, West Africa, mainly because President Barack Obama opposed it. That cost Sgt. LaDavid Johnson his life. More recently, Specialist Henry Mayfied Jr. was killed in a reprisal attack after Trump ordered the death of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleilmani. More black soldiers’ lives would be put at risk with Trump’s bellicose foreign policy.
- Although Trump thought only black people were on welfare, most black Americans are blue-collar/middle class. Trump’s policies have benefitted the 1 percent and Wall Street, not working people. He still hasn’t addressed pressing issues such as college education costs, healthcare or stagnating wages. Trump’s policies even negatively impact wealthy black people. Robert F. Smith, a recently minted black billionaire, said that he still gets racially profiled by the police. Trump has encouraged police to rough up suspects when they’re being arrested. I’m sure Smith realizes that all his money won’t protect him from police violence.
- Trump has encouraged white nationalists at home and abroad. According to the FBI, there was a 17 percent increase in hate crimes after Trump was elected. This was from people emboldened to vocalize pent up hatred which had metastasized during the Obama era. Trump tried to pull the “both sides” line during the deadly Unite the Right march in 2017 and he also encouraged white male gun enthusiasts when they recently converged at a pro-gun rally in Virginia. The Virginia gun rally was also attended by alt-right groups such as The Base, a terrorist cell that has seen several members arrested.
These facts should make the decision for black people to vote against Trump a no-brainer, but, as I said before, we live in a world where people are debating the truth. You can put all of these facts in front of some black people and they won’t believe them because they live in an alternate reality. That alternate reality is fueled by FOX News, which is designed to keep people ignorant. The alternate reality has led them into Cult 45, a collective that operates in its own fact-free bubble.
I’ve had personal experience with this. I used to be friends with an intelligent older, black man, who possessed both a law degree and an MBA. But I ended the friendship in 2016 because he was a Trump supporter. I pointed out that Trump was a racist and his views were driving traffic to white supremacist websites. (ProPublica reported that the Daily Stormer, home to some of the vilest racial content online, saw a 30 percent increase in traffic in 2016.) His response was these were stories made up by the news media. He also claimed he liked Trump for his leadership, but then couldn’t provide examples. I finally ended the friendship when he started repeating the phrase “crooked Hillary,” a sign he was deep in Cult 45. I decided I couldn’t be friends with someone whose views weren’t based in reality.
But he’s not the only one. I saw a YouTube video of a black voter who said he decided to support Trump because he thought he could get things done since “he’d seen him ordering people around on ‘The Apprentice.’” Apparently, no one told him that reality TV shows are heavily edited and operate nothing like the political world.
Recently, I encountered a black man who spoke fondly of Tucker Carlson. Yes, Tucker Carlson, the FOX News Neo-Nazi, who accused immigrants of making the country “dirtier” and who regularly hosts white nationalists on his show. According to former white supremacist Derek Black, Tucker Carlson’s show is required watching in the white supremacist community because he speaks their language.
“It’s really, really alarming that my family watches Tucker Carlson show once and then watches it on the replay because they feel that he is making the white nationalist talking points better than they have and they’re trying to get some tips on how to advance it,” said Black on “The Van Jones.”
Trump and other white supremacists see People of Color as the enemy. They’re afraid of our growing numbers and political might and they want their people in power permanently. You can’t buddy up to people who want you gone.