Sunday, August 21, 2016

What the hell have you got to lose?

After Trump's mad dash to Louisiana to assure flood victims he was there for them, he was in Michigan telling African Americans "what the hell have you got to lose?"   I'm not sure what audience Trump was trying to appeal to in these cases.  Obviously, not actual flood victims, as he spent less than a minute with a relief group, and certainly not Blacks, as he was making his plea in Diamondale, which is 93 per cent White.  As Sarah would so eloquently say, this is putting lipstick on a pitbull.

Trump was happy to present a set of alarming statistics on Blacks largely for the consumption of his White audience that already see Blacks as lazy.  This seemed less an appeal to draw in Black voters to him as to keep them at home on election day.  More cynically, it reinforces Black stereotypes with the aim of mobilizing White voters this Fall.  He tried to give his "message" a positive ending by saying that after four years he would have 95 per cent of the Black support, but failed to mention how, presuming he is even elected.

We've come to expect these bold pronouncements, but to be fair, his campaign has tried some public outreach.  He sat down with a handful of Hispanic leaders in the comfort of his Trump Tower before embarking on his multi-state "surge."  He met with conservative Black Sheriff David Clarke in Milwaukee, who told the Donald what it is like to be "in the trenches."  This is the same sheriff who urges anyone within earshot to stand up to Black Lives Matter, as if it is the cause of all this violence in the streets.  Even more amusing is that Trump named Omarosa the head of his African-American outreach effort. You might remember her from The Apprentice, where she was universally hated.  He may as well have Sheriff Dave for all the good she will do.

Obviously, "outreach" is the least of his interests.  He, like his fellow Republicans, are trying to turn Blacks and Hispanics against the Democratic Party by blaming the glaring economic and social inequalities on Democratic programs.  This is a strategy designed more to keep minorities at home than it is turn them out in favor of Trump or down ticket Republicans.

Trump is using every opportunity he gets to highlight these inequalities, calling attention to the giant welfare state that has been created but has not benefited minorities in his mind.   It is the welfare mothers and Willie Horton campaigns all over again, meant to show what a failure the Democratic system has been these past 50 years, if 59 per cent of Black youth is unemployed.  It doesn't matter if these figures are terribly misleading, it is what people "feel" that counts.

These kinds of manufactured statistics feed the main part of his campaign, which is to ignite the angry White voters in this country, who feel they are paying for all these free meal tickets.  This is made all the more clear in his recent decision to name former Breitbart director Stephen Bannon his campaign CEO, bumping Paul Manafort who had failed to bring Trump on message with the Republican National Committee.

Bannon is a pro and sowing seeds of hate, and promises not to hold back Trump in anyway.  Throughout his campaign, Trump has used Breitbart to great effect, and the web news site has become one of conservative voters' prime sources.  Many of the misleading charts Trump uses can be found on Breitbart, which is a troll net for all the conservative blogs that peddle racial stereotypes and bogus conspiracy theories.

This symbiotic relationship served him well in the primaries, but I don't see how it is going to work in the general election.  Seems that Trump's campaign advisers are counting on a massive groundswell of angry white disaffected voters to tip the November elections.  Kind of like what happened with the Brexit vote in the UK.

Trump has even called himself Mr. Brexit, as though he is going to go through the federal budget and expunge the programs he doesn't like as he did contestants on The Apprentice, while throwing candy to disaffected voters in the form of more tax cuts.   The funny thing is no one talks about Brexit anymore. The British and European economies quickly stabilized because the rabble-rousers like Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were thrown to the curb and Theresa May is busy negotiating an equitable exit strategy in Brussels.  As poor Boris found out, it's not enough to call yourself Mr. Brexit, you actually have to do something about it.

This is why Trump's latest appeals ring hollow, not only to Louisiana flood victims but African-Americans in Michigan.  This isn't a single issue election, and Trump has meandered back and forth on too many issues to gain voters' trust beyond a core of disgruntled white Americans, who aren't going to turn the vote in November.  He can try to undermine Democratic minority support, but his baseless accusations seem to be doing more to mobilize minorities against him rather than the Democratic Party.

I'm sure we will see more desperate gestures in the weeks ahead as his poll numbers continue to slump, but the answer to your question Donald is everything!

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