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Memo to media: Stop pretending Trump can "win over black voters"
He's a racist polling at 3%
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As the nation continues to rip apart in a way this country has not seen in half-a-century, Trump has lost control of America. Now he says he's going to rely on a massive military response to try to take back the streets from protesters across the country.
Against that stunning backdrop, Politico recently announced, "President Trump finds himself torn between his longtime promotion of law enforcement and his desire to win over black voters." ABC News and the Washington Post weighed in with similar reports: American cities being burned in response to racist and deadly policing actions are complicating Trump's strategy to "win over" black voters, in part because he's been out front fanning flames by calling protesters "thugs" and urging them to be shot. "Trump wants to appeal to black voters," the Post stressed.
This naïve, ongoing media storyline makes no sense —Trump's entire presidency has revolved around fanning racial flames and demonizing America's non-white population. And worse, the narrative of a racist like Trump poised to "win over black voters" adds another layer to the pointless normalization that the Beltway press has worked so hard on for more than three years.
This kind of false Trump coverage is distressing because it shines a light on how dysfunctional the Beltway press is, and how they're willing to be led around by Republican talking points. Question: If the Biden campaign announced it was going after retired, white evangelicals in the South, do you think there's a D.C. reporter who'd take that seriously, let alone cover the story over and over? Yet the Trump campaign claims it's wooing black voters, and that the Republican stands poised to make major gains, while Trump's polling at three percent among black voters, and the press treats this as a legitimate campaign story that needs to be revisited over and over.
This type of misguided political analysis is born of the media's fear of accurately labeling Trump a racist. Nervous of the right-wing backlash that it would cause, journalists have burned through the thesaurus in frantic attempts to water down Trump's obviously racist language and actions in recent years.
Instead of an honest conversation, news consumers have been served a feast of euphemisms — "racially tinged,""racially charged,""racially incendiary, disparaging," "derogatory," "racially infused," "crass epithet,""crass denigrations," "bluntly vulgar language" —as journalists try to avoid being truthful about Trump.
As commentator Oliver Willis noted last summer, "More infuriating than Trump being a racist is the press pretending he isn’t."
And make no mistake, he is. "Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that," Trump once told the head of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino. Meeting with lawmakers, Trump once demanded to know, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" referring to African nations, as well as Haiti and El Salvador.
The 2019 bloody gun rampage that unfolded in El Paso just minutes from the Mexico border, was sparked by a white gunman whose manifesto explicitly cited Trump's "invasion" rhetoric about migrants as his motivation to kill as many brown-skinned people as possible by emptying his AK-47 rifle inside a shell-shocked Walmart. But the press insisted on playing dumb about the toxic White House connection. "Members of the press, what the fuck?" asked an exasperated Beto O'Rourke in the wake of the El Paso massacre. "It's these questions you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what [Trump's] been doing in this country. He's promoting racism."
We saw the same halting timidity when Trump posted obviously racist tweets in reference to Democratic congresswomen of color and urged them to "go back" to the "crime infested" countries they came from—even though three of the four were born in the United States. At the time, newsrooms across the country refused to accurately label the racist attacks.
Meanwhile, Trump has spent this spring accusing America's only black president of being a criminal. Trump previously claimed Obama wasn't born in America and therefore wasn't eligible to become President of the United States.
In the wake of George Floyd's murder by the Minneapolis police, Trump returned to his hateful themes, referring to protesters as “thugs." On Twitter he warned, “Any difficulty and we will assume control, but when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” in a tweet that was so inappropriate it was flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence.”
By refusing to be honest about Trump's race-baiting ways, the press conveniently allows itself lots of different avenues of coverage, like pretending Trump eagerly wants to engage with black voters and has a chance of winning a large block of them away from Democrats. It's a total fantasy, and virtually every piece of polling confirms that. Yet the coverage persists.
"The president and his top allies are trying to fit his election-year interests in black voters into a political career filled with encouragements of police power," Politico insists. "The campaign wants black people to know that Trump is pushing for justice in the [Floyd] case," the Washington Post stressed. "President Trump and his advisers have made a show of trying to chip away at the overwhelming support that Democrats enjoyed from black voters in the 2016 presidential campaign," the New York Times recently reported.
Black voters today have sparked the largest, coast-to-coast protests this country has seen in decades — protests that have brought the Trump presidency to its knees. The press needs to stop pretending there’s a chance they’re going to vote for Trump.
👍🏻 GOOD STUFF:
It's often difficult to wrap our heads around the Trump era chaos that's emerging in the streets during his failed presidency. The Nation's Joan Walsh offers some much-needed perspective in her new piece, "Trump’s Authoritarian Porn Has a Lot of Fans":
It’s a shame that these stories are being obscured by images of violence—but it’s almost as if police want it this way and that’s why they keep wrongly arresting people like CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and why they shot MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi with a rubber bullet in Minneapolis and pepper-sprayed local journalists in Louisville, Ky.; Detroit; and other cities. Trump and his backers in blue enjoy these orgies of violence. We should resist giving them what they want.
🎸 FUN STUFF — BECAUSE WE ALL NEED A BREAK
Son Little, "about her. again"
Philly soul singer Aaron Earl Livingston, known onstage as Son Little, delivers a timeless effort with his latest, "about her. again." Powerful yet restrained, Son Little’s voice doubles as a beautiful and piercing instrument. I love the laid back, unhurried production on the song, and the slow build as the inevitable tale of heartache unfolds majestically:
There's just something about her
Takes me over the under
Over again, yeah
You gone and messed up my head