Look who’s warning the Democrats that black voters might support Trump in significant numbers
Donald Trump has been claiming that he will draw substantial black support running in the general election, and now a very prominent liberal black commentator is supporting his contention.
Writing in USA Today, Tavis Smiley avers:
…the conventional wisdom is that black voters have forgiven the Clintons for their attempt to diminish Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, and this time around, they’ve got Hillary’s back. Except everyone knows that in this presidential election cycle, conventional wisdom left the building long before the train ever left the station. Something tells me that if Donald Trump is indeed the Republican nominee, it might be a miscalculation for Democrats to assume that black voters are a lock for their nominee, even with the first black president and Barack Obama both campaigning for her.
For starters, charisma, charm and likeability aren’t transferable. While the chance to elect the first woman president is indeed tantalizing for many, in black America specifically, it’s not exactly the same as watching an African-American first family taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Indeed, even women haven’t as yet rallied en masse around Hillary the way black folk did around Obama.
Second, the number of everyday black voters who we assume will dismiss Trump because of his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attacks might well be inflated. While I certainly have had my say about Trump being a “religious and racial arsonist” (and he responded quickly on Twitter), not everyone in black America agrees with me. I have been taken by myriad conversations I’ve had with black folk who don’t find those comments by Trump necessarily or automatically disqualifying. In the coming days, we will see whether his initial refusal last Sunday on CNN to disavow the endorsement of David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy might anger black voters. Interestingly, almost two months ago, CNN ran a story about a white supremacist group doing robocalls for Trump in Iowa. He didn’t denounce them then and seems to not have suffered for it.
Third, though it is true that black/brown political coalitions have had strategic successes, it is also true that there have been plenty of other occasions where the interests of black and brown voters didn’t exactly align.
This third point is something the media shun any consideration of, but I believe that it could resonate strongly. Wages in low- and medium-skilled segments of the labor force have stagnated at best, and the obvious reason is the influx of laborers from south of the border, in particular people accustomed to a much lower standard of living than American blacks enjoy and therefore willing to accept wages that are unattractive to blacks.
If you think black people are not aware of this, you’re kidding yourself. Hillary is trapped in the big tent of the Democratic Party, insisting that black and brown are united in opposition to evil white racists. The bought and paid for leadership of black organizations play along with this fantasy. Smiley recognizes that Trump has an opening here. Given his willingness to speak the politically incorrect truth, do you really believe Trump won’t appeal to blacks on this basis?