The latest Quinnipiac poll shows the presidential contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are tightening. The poll also indicates if the election were held today, 50% of white Americans would vote for Trump. This is welcome news. Why? It shows that Trump is forcing white Americans to confront the dangers of uncritical white identity. Let’s look at the evidence:
Donald Trump is showing himself to be one of the most unintelligent, ignorant presidential candidates America has ever seen. He does not talk about policies with any substance, depth or knowledge, and is actually insulting the intelligence of White Americans because he is not asking for their vote based on his intellectual competence.
Donald Trump is a racist cartoon character that has come to life and made his way into American households all around the country. Name recognition got his foot in the door of presidential politics, but what made Trump beat out 16 other Republican presidential candidates during the primary was the forceful appeal to blunt racism. The foundation of his candidacy started with the well documented insults of Mexicans and Muslims. He then added African Americans to his vitriol. These attacks have been the center of his campaign as he attempts to appeal to White Americans across social and economic lines with racial animus. Trump has encouraged racial violence at his rallies and white nationalist, supremacist groups have openly praised his language and tactics. He has even tweeted out references to swastikas.
During his campaign, Trump has employed campaign advisors with white nationalist backgrounds. Former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke has reemerged with renewed purpose because of Trump and plans to run for congress. A recent ABC poll shows 57% of Americans believe Donald Trump is a bigot. Yet, 50% of white Americans are reportedly willing to vote for a bigot who appeals to their fears and worst instincts. African Americans see the hate and if the polls are accurate, plan to reward Trump with the lowest percentage of the Black vote in the modern era of presidential politics that does not have Barack Obama on the ballot. Hispanic Americans are engaging in massive voter registration across the country and hope to reward Trump with near record anti-Trump votes also.
Poor and middle income white Americans who vote for Trump cannot say they’re voting for him because Trump has a record of being a successful businessman who can bring more jobs to America. As President Obama stated in a recent visit to Philadelphia, Trump is 70 years old and lived his whole life avoiding working people. Trump has failed miserably in business as evidenced by multiple bankruptcies and history of not paying his bills to poor and middle income Americans who have done work for him. Trump created a fraudulent University and bilked millions of dollars from Americans seeking a better life through education. Trump speaks of wanting to negotiate better trade deals but again, his story of failed businesses calls into question his ability to make decisions that benefits the country.
Donald Trump is asking White Americans to ignore the fact that he is not a decent man of integrity seeking to hold the office of President of the United States. Not only has Trump insulted racial groups, he’s belittled women, the disabled, war heroes and dead soldiers. When he’s not appealing to white nationalism, his form of American patriotism includes disparaging American generals and calling President Obama an illegitimate president with birtherism. Trump has said Russian dictator Vladamir Putin is a stronger leader than Obama and has called for the criminal arrest of his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, for crimes that have not actually been committed. Trump dismissively speaks of a rigged system of electoral American democracy as a means of delegitimizing Hillary Clinton if he were to lose to her -- the same system that helped him win 13 million votes in the primary and become the nominee.
Unless sentiments and polls change in the last seven weeks of this election, Donald Trump is expected to win 50-60 million votes and win a number of states. Most of these votes will come from white Americans. These numbers suggest that it is not just poor and blue collar white men, which has been the storyline of this election. These numbers would have to include rich and poor white women who live in cities, the countryside and suburbs across the country. Middle income and rich white men are voting for Trump. The votes are coming from a majority of Republicans, but also Democrats and Independents.
Trump knows if he is judged as a man and the contempt he’s shown the presidential process, he loses. Donald Trump knows if he is judged as a man who has presented himself as unprepared, unpredictable and unstable for the office of President, he loses. Donald Trump wants white America to turn a blind eye to this uncomfortable reality and see his candidacy through the lens of whiteness -- first and foremost. It is his only chance at winning and he just might do it.