Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow
It may sound funny but when you give it serious consideration there may be something about Trump’s appeal to Black America that is worrying the Democratic National Committee. Never has a Republican candidate given so much attention to the needs of Black America. President Trump has done this in various ways. Let’s look at these direct attempts to draw Black support by Donald Trump.
Prison sentencing reform has caught a lot of public attention. The President’s rapport with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian has been covered by news groups on many occasions. The President has considered their lobbying for reducing prison sentences for various individuals – 100 percent who have been Black. President Trump’s view on prison sentencing seems to agree with the opinion of most Blacks who believe the harsh sentencing that was started in the 1990s by Democrats has been a terrible and evil mistake which is heavily slated to the detriment of the nation’s Black population.
The DNC has shown no shame about the results of its platform during the Clinton Administration with much support from the Congressional Black Caucus. Those terrible quotes by Hillary Clinton, such as making criminal Blacks “heel” like they were vicious animals. At the time the DNC was proud to support the disproportionate sentencing on crack cocaine versus the powder version which heavily weighed towards Black offenders versus upper class whites. Trump is more than happy to reverse this trend whenever there is an opportunity and makes sure that the Black population of voters knows just what he is doing.
Most recently the President hosted a group of Black advocates in his Oval Office at the White House to discuss School Choice. School Choice is not supported by mainstream white Democrats while most conservatives prefer the option of charter schools versus public schools. It became apparent to many people, including the Black populace, that charter and private schools produce a better “product” than public schools. This is very apparent in urban centers throughout the nation. The President’s position on this matter is appealing to the Black middle class and a growing number of common Black Democrats are starting to take notice also.
America is starting to enjoy the Trump economy. The saying that a “rising tide lifts all ships” is starting to hold true as all groups are impressed with the low unemployment figures and new job totals that are being reported monthly. The President is quick to say, “Blacks and Hispanics have the lowest unemployment rates today than at any other time in our history.” He is taking full credit and the masses are starting to believe it. This is certainly catching the attention of Democratic pollsters who fear that their traditional hold on the Black vote may be starting to slip away. Blacks who have lived in poverty are now starting to become self-sufficient like never before and they are noticing that Trump has something of which to be proud.
Then there are the 2020 elections. President Trump is revving up his political campaign already. His public rallies are drawing super-sized crowds which resemble those by President Obama when he was in his prime. It seems that these rallies are being participated in more and more by active Black supporters. It is not coincidental that the cameras zoom in on these Black participants wearing their MAGA hats and sweatshirts. The number is steadily growing.
Trump’s chances of re-election seem to be growing in his favor as time goes on. The DNC has for decades depended on the strong Black vote in its favor. Could that be chipping away?
If so, is the DNC Chair Tom Perez capable of addressing it? His background in running the Civil Rights office during the Obama administration would indicate doubt. His arrogance and insensitivity concerning Black contracting (particularly in highway construction) and various issues in public housing Section 3 compliance have placed a bitter pill in the “mouths” of Black advocates who remember the games he would play to avoid direct, positive advocacy and ignore the concerns of many who still remember the pain that was caused.
The current contest between the 20 plus candidates for the Democratic nomination is “Black light.” As Cory Booker has stated, “There are more billionaires in the contest than Blacks.” It doesn’t appear that Black candidates are going to be in contention, and this will be intolerable by many of the Black mainstream. They may not all run to the polls and vote Republican but the thought of them not going to the polls at all will indeed be troubling to the DNC. There is a fear that a weak Black turnout will be too much for the DNC to overcome and Trump will once again win and become President for four more years. That is the “nightmare” that just might be haunting the Democrats. Impeachment may be the only way to defeat President Trump.
Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Ms. DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the Chamber. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Emails: [email protected]; [email protected].