Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trump’s speech in West Bend was aimed at wavering white voters, not African-Americans

GOP presidential candidate chose to "speak" to black communities in one of the whitest cities in Wisconsin

Donald Trump came to Wisconsin this week to address the problems of racial disparity and violence in black communities.

No, really. Stop laughing.

He did so in an unusual place: West Bend, Wisconsin, where 19 out of every 20 citizens are white (the rest of Wisconsin is similarly mostly white, although West Bend is more so than the state overall, which is 17 out of every 20 citizens). From the Journal Sentinel:
"I'm asking for the vote of every African-American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different and much better future," Trump said in Washington County, which has a black population of 1.2%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Emphasis in bold mine.

Trump is struggling especially with African-Americans. Some state polls show he’s garnering zero percent support among black voters, a terrifyingly low number even for a Republican candidate.

But Trump isn’t really trying to court the black vote anyway. If he were, he’d be in Milwaukee, not West Bend. His speech, given in one of the whitest communities Wisconsin has to offer, wasn’t aimed at the African-American community. It was aimed at white voters who want to vote for Trump but don’t want to think of themselves as racist for doing so.

Bill Palmer at the Daily News Bin explains:
[Trump] appeared to be trying to give his white supporters the cover to pretend that their support of his blatantly racist policies somehow doesn’t make them racist. Because hey, he generically said something about how he was going to help black people, while blaming foreigners.
In other words, if wavering white voters can clear their consciences and somehow convince themselves that Trump stands WITH black people rather than against them, then they will feel less awful about supporting a candidate who is perceived as racist.

The problem is that perception of Trump’s racism is pretty much spot on. Trump has said in the past that he believes “laziness is a trait in blacks.” He’s also complained about black people counting his money. And Trump falsely repeated a claim that black-on-white crime was a huge share of total crimes committed (his tweet alleged numbers that were 440 percent higher than what actual statistics demonstrated). Trump also suggested that black protesters, some who were assaulted by his supporters at rallies, “maybe should have been roughed up.”

White voters who are wavering on Trump shouldn’t believe his recent rhetoric in West Bend. Trump isn’t a friend to African-Americans. Trump’s racism is blatant, and their consciences shouldn’t feel clean if they intend to vote for him simply because he says otherwise.

As we all know, Trump says a lot of things about himself that aren’t true.

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