Trump's Outreach to African-Americans Is Actually a Dog-Whistle to His White Nationalist Base

Trump successfully armed his white supporters with plenty of ammunition with which to demonize black communities as hellscapes and death-traps of their own making.
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Trump successfully armed his white supporters with plenty of ammunition with which to demonize black communities as hellscapes and death-traps of their own making.

If Donald Trump is legitimately attempting to reach out to African-American voters, he's doing a horrible job of it, which comes as no surprise. At rallies in North Carolina and Michigan late last week, Trump outlined a series of talking points, recited from dreaded teleprompters -- talking points that, on the surface, appeared to illustrate a sudden affinity for black people. The only prior mention of African-American voters by the GOP nominee occurred when Trump interrupted one of his own incoherent rants, saying, "Look at my African American over here," while pointing at a lone black man in the audience.

"Look at how much African American communities are suffering from Democratic control. To those I say the following: What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?" Trump badgered in Michigan. "You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?"

That right there is some good old fashioned white-splaining. Actually, it's fair to argue that Trump wasn't really speaking to African-Americans at all. Considering the total lack of African-Americans in attendance in Michigan, where Trump went off-prompter for his observations about the African-American community, it's more than obvious that Trump was merely telling his white nationalist disciples that blacks live in squalor because they're too stupid (or maybe too lazy) to ditch the Democratic Party. They won't do so for Trump any time soon.

Additionally, Trump successfully armed his white supporters with plenty of ammunition with which to demonize black communities as hellscapes and death-traps of their own making, rather than acknowledging the reality that racist policies, racial resentment and centuries of oppression have manufactured pockets of African-American poverty and crime. 

Along those lines, however, what Trump said about the state of black America is factually incorrect.

No shit, right?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 74 percent of African-Americans are not living in poverty, contrary to what Trump said. 

And while the unemployment rate among African-Americans is higher, it's always been higher, regardless of Republican or Democratic control of the federal government. It's also worth noting that Republicans fully control 23 state governments, and yet... poverty and crime and "no good" schools apparently exist. Likewise, the GOP has controlled both chambers of Congress for nine of the last 13 years, as well as the presidency for eight of the last 16 years. Someone should ask Trump about this.

That said, the youth unemployment rate that Trump blurted is, predictably, a rigged statistic given that it includes young people who are in high school and, by definition, not part of the labor force. This is the same flimflam the Republicans use when discussing the "real" unemployment rate, since it includes retirees, disabled people and students. Additionally, Trump is lying about having "no jobs."

As for schools, one of the reasons why some districts -- white, black or mixed -- are "no good" could be attributed to the fact that Republicans at the state and federal levels have yanked millions of dollars from public schools and pumped the funds into "school choice" voucher/charter programs, which are nothing more than handouts to privately-owned corporate institutions. It comes down to a matter of financing, and schools in some black communities simply aren't getting the dollars required to keep up with schools in well-financed white communities.

And why is that?

Because racist demagogues like Trump have successfully convinced resentful white voters that increased spending on public schools is nothing more than another handout for The Takers who refuse to work. If African-American voters suddenly go crazy and help Trump to win the election, is there anyone who serious believes the Republicans will act to repair schools, while tackling the poverty rate? When has the GOP ever bothered with such a plan -- I mean, since Reconstruction ended, that is?

Nevertheless, Trump's pivoted appeal to African-Americans is not unlike Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite promising that "all of your wildest dreams will come true." Everyone knows how hollow and 'splainy this is, except for Trump loyalists, of course, who all at once are happy to continue demonizing people-of-color while insisting their guy is here to help.