Day: August 20, 2016

It’s whites who have a lot to lose

What in the world is that about? Donald Trump, polling at 1% of the African American vote, also said he would have 95% of the black vote after four years in office.

It’s not about black votes. It’s about white votes. He is a master of finding ways to enable racist attitudes that used to be verboten in American politics. This time he is saying to white people that it is not their fault blacks in America lag in education, jobs, incomes, and standard of living. He lays the blame on black people for voting for the wrong party, exonerating his white followers and confirming, without saying it, that they are smarter and better. He also grossly exaggerates the plight of African Americans using inaccurate numbers and a wildly distorted narrative.

This ploy will suck in no black voters, who know which party white racists support today and how little Trump has offered to improve the lives of black people. The only specific thing his surrogates are citing is support for charter schools, as if Democrats oppose them. I live in the District of Colombia, which is virtually a one-party Democratic town where more than half the public school students attend charter schools. Openness to charter schools is determined mainly at the local level, not by the Federal government. Blacks also know that Hillary Clinton will do much better for them, if only because she will shift the tax burden to richer people and open up educational and job opportunities to the lower middle class.

It is working class whites who are getting snookered. While claiming he will bring back their manufacturing jobs to the US, Trump knows well that many of them were lost to technology, not foreign workers. The protectionism he is pledging himself to will reduce American standards of living, not raise them, by raising prices and reducing purchasing power. There are good reasons why most of the products to which he has attached his moniker are made abroad. He is also claiming that restrictions on immigration will increase job opportunities, but the evidence points in the other direction: immigration reform would increase job opportunities. The notion that Trump will succeed in deporting millions of people and their jobs will then be available to American citizens is pie in the sky. Even if he were to succeed, which is unlikely, many of those jobs would disappear, also lost to technology.

The American working class has a race problem: the split between whites and blacks reduces its political clout and enables a billionaire like Trump to pretend to champion people with whom he has nothing in common except skin color. Trump has no intention of gaining black votes or doing anything special to meet black people’s needs. What he is doing is pretending to reach out to black voters, something the Republican establishment has demanded, while denigrating black behavior and life styles in ways that will bring him white votes.

If they fall for this, whites have a lot to lose.

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