Showing posts with label President Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label President Trump. Show all posts

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Will Trump’s racism crush his strategic appeals for Black voters?

words by Charles Brooks

 

Photo credit: Black Voices For Trump Facebook page

For the last four years, Trump has not only railed against the Democratic Party but Black America  as well.  He has attacked and offended many with insults and dangerous racist rhetoric.  His racial politics advances a racist narrative along with a public policy that’s equally damning and harmful. That’s why his 2020 re-election campaign’s paradoxical outreach to Black voters is so odd and rather peculiar but seemingly strategic.  

Candidate Trump promised a New Deal for Black America — With a Plan for Urban Renewal.   A “ten-point plan” addressing education via school choice , safe communities where safety is a “civil right”, and equal justice with promises to “apply the law fairly, equally and without prejudice.”  His 2016 New Deal also promised tax and financial reforms to create jobs, along with a $1 trillion infrastructure investment.

About a year ago, Trump launched “Black Voices for Trump" where Black folk highlight his “accomplishments” with Black America.  They hold campaign events across the country, pointing to Trump “wins” in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), criminal justice reform via the First Step Act , low Black unemployment along with his anti-poverty program - Opportunity Zones. 

But Trump’s pursuit for Black voters doesn’t end there – there’s his newly released plan for Black America called, The Platinum Plan.  Here, he makes campaign promises of tax cuts, increases in education opportunities, lower healthcare costs, and criminal justice reform.  There’s also promises to deliver 3 million new jobs, create 500,000 new black owned businesses, and increase access to capital in Black communities by almost $500 billion.  He even wants to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan and ANTIFA as terrorist organizations, make lynching a national hate crime, and make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Although introduced as a plan for Black America, The Platinum Plan reads more like an executive summary than an actual plan. Reading through the “plan” you get the sense this was hastily crafted and hurriedly put together with vague language compelling far more questions than answers.  For example, the “plan” contains exactly 39 bullet points spread over two pages but only seven with any mention of cost allocations. Many of the remaining bullet points appear to be more goal oriented and aspirational.  

For example, the plan in part reads “Reach even greater levels of historic employment and wage growth for the Black Community set in 2019, so that anyone looking for a job gets one” or “examine barriers to employment” or “Increase activity in opportunity zones including benefits for local hires” or “Examine alternative ways to build credit including rent, utilities, and phone bills” or “Champion federal policy reforms to advance home ownership initiatives” or when it comes to the HBCUs, the plan states: “Continue to protect the vital role of Historically Black Colleges & Universities".  There’s more but I think you get the point. 

We have heard Trump’s repeated proclamations of being the best president for Blacks but given his propensity to mislead the facts or just plain lie – closer scrutiny actually shows a far different picture than the one he’s painting.  For one, his anti-poverty initiative, opportunity zones have come under increasing criticism where Black businesses and communities are not benefiting as claimed.  His “accomplishments” for HBCUs has invited scorn considering Trump’s absentee role as legislation worked through Congress.  The same absentee role he’s taking with the lynching bill that now just sits in the Senate’s dusty bin. While Black unemployment did fall to historically-low levels during the Trump presidency, the role of Trump’s economic policies is debatable considering the downward trend that began during the Obama administration.     

On criminal justice, Trump signed the First Step Act into law, yet funding, implementation and execution of the law remains problematic.  For Attorney General, Trump nominated Jeff Sessions described as a career racist and then Bill Barr, widely considered an “architect” of today’s mass incarceration policies.  They implemented new criminal justice policies as several initiatives established during the Obama presidency were now rolled back – gone.      

The truth is, Black folk supported Trump in 2016 and again in 2020. Since receiving 8% of the Black vote in 2016, Trump got a 10% approval rating amongst Blacks in 2017, 11% in 2018 and 10% in November 2019.  Trump even posted a high of 23% just months ago in February 2020.  In fact, there are now reports indicating an uptick in Black support for Trump.  And yet, despite Trump’s covert racism, his approval rating with Blacks stands at 14% .  This figure could prove significant enough to Trump’s reelection chances if the 14% holds and somehow translates into an increase of Black support at the polls beyond 8%.

Meanwhile – remember when Trump asked Black voters back in 2016, what the hell do you have to lose?  Well, four years later, there’s the loss of millions of jobs, businesses and healthcare due to his feeble response to the pandemic health crisis for one. There’s also the loss of harmful public policy, particularly around law and order.  Oh yea, there’s not only the loss of the public insults from the Trump bully pulpit but the incessant lies about what he has done for Black America. 


Further Reading:
Has Trump failed Black Americans, by Rashawn Ray and Keon L. Gilbert



Visit the Blacks for Trump page on Facebook here and see for yourself...

Further Reading on 2020 elections

Live Election Results, from the Guardian

Preliminary Exit Polling, from the New York Times

Preliminary Election Results, from CNN


Related Posts



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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

President Trump police speech "jokes" about excessive use of force

By CHARLES BROOKS


President Trump has again raised concerns with his tough on crime message when he publicly endorsed the use of police violence.  On July 28th, the president visited Suffolk County Community College to talk about the federal plans for the MS-13 gang“…Right now, we have less than 6,000 Enforcement and Removal Officers in ICE.  This is not enough to protect a nation of more than 320 million people.  It's essential that Congress fund another 10,000 ICE officers…” But then the president went on to say: “And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon -- you just see them thrown in, rough -- I said, please don’t be too nice.  Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over?  Like, don’t hit their head and they've just killed somebody -- don't hit their head.  I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”

While the White House dismissed the reckless remarks as a joke, widespread criticism and condemnation has been nevertheless unleashed from both law enforcement and civil liberties groups. Described as “unconscionable”, “irresponsible” and “unprofessional”, the president remarks underline the deep concerns that range from blatant violation of constitutional rights to the negative impact on police-community relations. What is equally disturbing is that in the past his inflammatory comments not only sparked several incidents of physical violence at his campaign events but his election victory triggered a nationwide outbreak of racial attacks.

This latest controversy should serve as a reminder of the 2016 campaign and primary season when Trump would often refer to himself as the law and order president; voiced his support for stop and frisk tactics and federal intervention as a way to deal with the gun violence in Chicago; while delivering his get tough message via social media: “This election is a choice between law, order & safety - or chaos, crime & violence. I will make America safe again for everyone.  Crime is out of control, and rapidly getting worse. Look what is going on in Chicago and our inner cities.”

As part of the presidential transition from Obama to Trump, the
White House website was redesigned to include issues deemed important to the new president such as Standing Up for our Law Enforcement Community. The new president escalated concerns with his appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. In his opening statement during his confirmation hearings, Sessions declared: “If we are to be more effective in dealing with rising crime, we will have to rely heavily on local law enforcement to lead the way. To do that, they must know that they are supported. If I am so fortunate as to be confirmed as Attorney General, they can be assured that they will have my support. In his six months as Attorney General, we’ve witnessed Sessions announcing his intention to resume the drug war, forfeit property and undo medical marijuana protections.

In addition to Trump’s controversial picks for Attorney General and the Supreme Court, he also signed three “law and order” executive orders that would; create a task force that would propose new legislation to reduce crime by highlighting drug trafficking, illegal immigration and violent crime; increase penalties for crimes committed against officers, and strengthen federal law to combat transnational criminal organizations and prevent international trafficking. 

Discussion Question:
Do you think the president was ‘joking’ when he made the remarks? Do you have any concerns about the possible implications of Trumps remarks? How much confidence do you have in the Congressional Black Caucus to impede the progress of the president’s plan for law and order? What about the larger civil rights/civil liberties community? What do you think is the best way to pressure Congress, and legislators at the state and local level?

Further Reading
Cops, civil rights groups brace for 'law and order' Trump

What the Trump administration wants you know about civil rights and policing




Friday, June 23, 2017

What exactly does the CBC want?

By Charles Brooks 

Less than two weeks left with the Obama presidency, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) discussed their plans to be more aggressive with the incoming president, Donald Trump. Well, after just six months of Trump being in office the CBC has seen enough as CBC Chairman Rep.Cedric Richmond (D-LA) rejected the president’s invitation to meet with him at the White House. In his letter to the president and in subsequent media interviews, Rep. Richmond outlined specific concerns around the Trump administration’s plans to dismantle healthcare, resurrect the drug war, disregard consent decrees, and implement billion dollars in cuts to Pell Grants.  The CBC Chair also reminded the president of his failure to respond to outreach to him of eight letters and a policy report submitted during their first meeting back in March.  “Through an objective assessment, we have seen no evidence that your administration acted on our calls for action, and we have in fact witnessed steps that will affirmatively hurt black communities,” wrote Rep. Richmond. In the letter as well as in a number of media interviews explaining their decision, the CBC Chair dismissed the would-be meeting as a “social gathering”.

I think we are clear on what the CBC does not want but what they do want and the path to get there is not as equally clear.  This is disturbing particularly considering their first meeting with the president back in March was viewed as “productive” and “frank” with a commitment for more regularly scheduled meetings to discuss policy issues.  So the first – if not, obvious – question is what exactly is being accomplished by not sitting with the president to address the issues and concerns they’ve outlined in their letters and policy paper? Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to meet with the president to discuss these critical issues?  Which brings us to the next question, what is their next move - or in other words what is their Plan B? Well they did submit an alternative federal budget for the FY2018 as they’ve always done since 1981 with little fanfare. But realistically, what are the chances that a Republican majority in Congress will act or much less debate the merits of the CBC’s alternative budget?

This apparent public display of defiance by the CBC actually raises more concerns about their effectiveness and, yes their relevance. For eight years, they served with a muted voice while providing a protective shield against Republican attacks on President Obama. Equally troubling was their refusal to endorse one of their own, Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md) for the open Senate seat in Maryland. And then we learned about their ties to corporate interests during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

Authors of the CBC Report Card 2016, Glen Ford and Patrice Johnson brings into question the CBC’s leadership with an extensive analysis of ten key votes between September 2015 and September 2016.  Their report states the following: “What the CBC Monitor Report Cards bring into focus is that the Black Caucus is simply an appendage of Democratic leadership in the House. It has no independent existence or policy, and is therefore not a leadership institution for Black America. Rather, it is the Black face of the Democratic Party. Only about one-third of its members (the 14 that voted against the internet “terror” bill, last December, for example) are willing to break with their party on occasion.”
for 
In his letter to the president, Rep. Richmond left the door open for the President to invite individual CBC members for future meetings with him and cabinet officials. 

Discussion Question: 
Should individual members of the CBC pursue individual meetings with the president? What plan of action should the CBC pursue in this age of Trump?

Further Reading: