It’s time to Break It Down!
Though it’s been three weeks since I’ve written about 2016 Presidential Politics, the Campaign has indeed continued apace. Both Parties have held their respective Conventions and are gearing up to do battle for the next seventy days or so.
For her part, Team Clinton continues, and I would expect will for the duration of the campaign, to absorb hits about her use of email, this time involving the Clinton Foundation. Mr. Trump has gone so far as to refer to emails that appear to connect the Foundation, Secretary Clinton, and wealthy donors seeking meetings as evidence of a Pay-to-Play scheme. He has called for a Special Prosecutor to be named to investigate the matter. Needless to say, that would be a very convenient outcome, from his perspective.
For his part, Team Trump has found itself in an interesting position. After having an eventful, though largely positive (for him) Republican National Convention, he received a significant 6-point bounce the following week that saw him surpass Hillary in the Polls going into the week of the Democratic National Convention. Then came the Democratic Convention, which brought its own 7-point bounce, which catapulted Mrs. Clinton back into a lead in most Polls.
Then things really got interesting. The Trump Campaign hit a number of sour notes, including one with a Gold Star Family. The offshoot in summary was many of the Polls were unkind to Mr. Trump. He trailed by double digits in several, including in some states where Republicans are expecting to contend, or even to have a slight advantage, such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
It is clear the Trump Campaign found these developments unsettling. So with roughly 80 days to go before Election Day, Team Trump undertook it’s second significant shake-up and installed it’s third new Leadership Team. This time Paul Manafort, who in the spring replaced Corey Lewandowski as Campaign Chair, was displaced on August 17th, by the duo of Kellyanne Conway, Campaign Chair, and Stephen Bannon, Campaign CEO. Conway is the head of her own Polling Firm, and Bannon is a former executive at Breitbart News.
I may be one of the few people who truly believes this is still genuinely a race. I absolutely think Donald Trump continues to have a viable shot, no pun intended Second Amendment people, at becoming the 45th POTUS. Let me be clear, I think Mrs. Clinton will win. However, today anyway, I feel given the amount of time left, and the number of unknown variables that may still impact the outcome, Donald J. Trump still has a puncher’s chance. And he’s obviously going to keep flailing away.
Today though, I want to take a moment to examine one of Mr. Trump’s most recent cavalier (in my opinion, anyway) premises. This should not take long. Last Thursday, Donald Trump came to Charlotte, NC and among other things launched his initial pitch to African Americans. The next day in Dimondale, Michigan, Trump continued to hone, refine, and embolden his pitch to the African American community. Recent polls suggest he is polling 1 to 2 percent nationally among African Americans, and actually zero in a couple of swing states, Pennsylvania and Ohio. With metrics like that, it is easy enough to understand why he would consider targeting, again, no pun intended Second Amendment people, African Americans as a group with whom he would like to expand his support.
With that disclaimer, it is important to note a couple of distinct issues:
- The first is that Mr. Trump chose to issue his most passionate plea to date for African American support in, as I noted above, Dimondale, Michigan. Dimondale, according to the 2010 Census is 93% white, and includes 9, as in one less than 10, African Americans, which translates into .73%. To be clear, that is less than three quarters of one percent.
- The second point I want to elevate is the language Mr. Trump chose to use to implore support among African Americans. He said, and I quote, “What the hell do you have to lose?” That is the more indelicate version of today’s title. Fine, call the title politically correct, if you must. But to be sure, the larger point here is, whether Donald Trump, his surrogates, his supporters, and his newly minted Campaign Leadership Team realize and appreciate, there are millions of African Americans who not only take great exception to the brazen temerity of the query, but who would be happy to respond…if only he would come to some location that actually presented him with an audience of living, breathing African Americans.
While I think the question is disrespectful, he upped the ante on the downright ludicrous by insisting if elected, in his 2020 reelection bid, he would actually garner more than 95% of the black vote. OK, if, as Mr. Trump eventually claimed, his insistence that President Obama founded ISIS was sarcasm, his black vote assertion, on its face, is sheer hyperbole. President Obama, in his reelection bid attracted 93% of the black vote. For Mr. Trump to fix his mouth to say he would better that is laughable. Hilarious in fact!
This has been a fairly popular discussion over the course of the past several days. In winding down this conversation, I will leave you with three responses, including one of my own, to Mr. Trump’s presumptuous sounding question. Before I get to the responses, let me expand on the meaning of “presumptuous sounding.” It is a fairly common consensus that Mr. trump is really not seeking to expand or increase his support among African Americans. Instead, he is executing a strategy to increase his level of palatability among white voters, many of whom have expressed the notion that he is not Presidential, that many of his rants are racist and or bigoted, and that his proposed Muslim ban and wall separating us from Mexico are in a word, contemptuous.
Now, here are responses from two of my friends and me regarding “what we have to lose:”
- JW said, ”Donald Trump paints a bleak picture of Black Americans and asks, “What the hell do you have to lose?” Join me in the self portrait of a Black man’s what’s to lose challenge: This Black man is a comfortably retired Ph. D, all five kids college educated, two with advanced degrees, living in a country club community, multi-lingual, no arrest records, a registered Democrat and veteran. What’s to lose? My standing as an intelligent individual with a full serving of political integrity. Chime in brothers…”
- KW said, ”Trump’s assertion requires critical analysis. Let’s start with my immediate family: I am a product of Detroit public schools. I have three college degrees including a Masters Degree in Organizational Management. My wife is a product of public schools in her hometown. She has two college degrees including a Bachelors of Science degree. One of our daughters graduated from college at the age of 17! She earned two more degrees from UCLA (a public university). Our oldest daughter has three college degrees. Our 22-year-old son has two college degrees and will earn a third degree in May 2017. Our youngest daughter earns her first college degree in May 2017 and she will be 19 years old. So: earned degrees in the Williams household: 13 to date with two more expected in May 2017. Oh, I forgot. That’s impossible because we are all Black. I also forgot to mention all 13 degrees were conferred with honors ranging from Cum Laude to Summa Cum Laude. Trump: Get away from me with that minutia. You embarrass Republicans and Americans. BTW: what college did your wife graduate from??? Feel free to share this. I wrote and approved this message.”
- I said, ”African American, two degrees, 34+ year career in public service, retired, blogger, with some definite ideas about what’s at stake if African Americans and America gamble on Donald Trump. I think Mr. Trump is simultaneously pandering to blacks while enflaming the white racist voting bloc, in an effort to offset the lack of support he is sure to garner from us. Such racist and bigoted appeals are certain to harden the shell that already makes life challenging for black folks trying to navigate our society. And then, there is this… Of course you already know this, but you may not have seen it here.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/opinion/why-blacks-loathe-trump.html?_r=0
In case you were contemplating whether Donald Trump is sarcastic or just full of…call it hyperbole (to keep it clean), this discussion sums it up pretty well, in my opinion. In fact, the post responds even more cogently to the inquiry, “What The Aitch Do You Have To Lose?”
I’m done; holla back!
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