Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Townhall.com on October 31, 2020.
Liberals are tying themselves in knots trying to explain President Trump’s growing popularity among Black and Hispanic voters.
The left is heavily invested in the narrative it has constructed of Donald Trump as an unrepentant “white nationalist” whose supposedly “racist” rhetoric is driving minorities away from the Republican Party in droves. The president’s critics have repeated this lie so many times that they’ve actually started to believe it — which is making for some highly amusing logical contortions as they try to navigate their own cognitive dissonance.
At first, all they had to do was dismiss the accuracy of polls showing that President Trump has been steadily gaining support in both the Black and Latino communities. But the phenomenon didn’t disappear, and with no time left to reverse the trends, liberals have begun to acknowledge that “In the Trump era, the U.S. electorate has become less divided by race.”
This directly contradicts one of the central articles of faith within today’s Democratic Party. Based on the presupposition that Donald Trump is the most openly racist politician in living memory, common sense dictates that conservative-leaning non-white voters should be fleeing the GOP in droves, disgusted by the president’s alleged appeals to “white supremacy” and “xenophobia.” Meanwhile, the white voters whom Trump is supposed to be wooing with his “divisive” rhetoric are actually shifting toward the Democrats.
As Nate Cohn observes in The New York Times, “The decrease in racial polarization defies the expectations of many analysts, who believed a campaign focused on appeals to issues like Black Lives Matter or ‘law and order’ would do the opposite.”
“So what gives?” the Democrats have begun asking themselves. Their unwillingness to let go of the “racist Trump” fantasy is leading them to some rather ridiculous conclusions.
The consensus seems to be that President Trump’s efforts to divide the country along racial lines have simply been a spectacular failure — the dolt!
“His appeals to white nationalism haven’t worked with most white voters,” The New York Times declares in its October 30 morning briefing newsletter. “But Trump’s white nationalism hasn’t driven away many voters of color who didn’t already oppose him. Instead, his confrontational style and tough talk on crime and national security seem to have appealed to some Latino and Black voters.”
This has the advantage of reassuring liberals of their own superiority while explaining away the president’s popularity among non-white voters as a product of the authoritarian inclinations of some Blacks and Hispanics — a line of reasoning that is uncomfortably close to the racist “Uncle Tom” attacks that self-styled “progressives” have long used against conservatives of color.
The problem with this explanation — apart from its being profoundly incorrect — is that it studiously overlooks the real reason for Donald Trump’s growing appeal to minorities.
Over the course of his first term, President Trump has consistently embraced and implemented policies designed to uplift and empower Americans who had previously been forgotten by the political establishment — a category that specifically includes Blacks and Hispanics.
In defiance of influential members of his own party, for instance, the president secured a bipartisan majority in Congress to pass the FIRST STEP Act, effecting the most momentous reform to America’s criminal justice system in a generation. The legislation reversed some of the most discriminatory policies that had been implemented in the 1980s and ‘90s, recommitted the federal prison system to rehabilitation, and released thousands of deserving inmates — the overwhelming majority of them Black — who had been serving excessive sentences for non-violent crimes.
The Trump administration also engineered a broad-based economic boom that greatly improved the prospects of minorities, achieving all-time lows in the unemployment rates for Black and Hispanic Americans. The “Opportunity Zones” initiative created by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, moreover, is promoting long-term prosperity in economically distressed communities all over the country, driving massive amounts of private investment to struggling neighborhoods that are disproportionately home to Americans of color.
More recently, the president has outlined his plans to build on that success during his second term, releasing the “Platinum Plan” for Black Americans and the “American Dream Plan” for Hispanic Americans.
The left’s portrayal of President Trump is a caricature, but liberals treat it like a portrait. Their inability to comprehend why Blacks and Hispanics are increasingly embracing Donald Trump’s vision and agenda for American Greatness is the direct and inevitable result of the left’s devotion to its own inaccurate narrative.