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The Problems with Trump’s Black Outreach

There are at least three problems with Donald Trump’s new outreach to blacks but only one of them rests with Donald. 

Where are the blacks?

When Donald asks blacks to vote for him on the premise, “what the hell do you have to lose?” with a sea of white people behind him at one of his rallies, you have to wonder to whom is he talking? If he’s gonna ask blacks to vote for him, shouldn’t he address a predominantly black audience? News reports say he will soon go to Detroit with Ben Carson so that may be a good thing. 

The Media 

When Trump asked black voters what they had to lose by voting for him, he was dismissed by the media almost universally. The media spin is he was really reaching out to white suburban women to assure them he’s not a bigot. Maybe I’m naive but I find this interpretation awfully cynical. Could it be that Trump actually wants more than 1% of the black vote? 

Blacks

Doesn’t Trump have a bit of a point? What have Democrats achieved in our inner cities? Nothing. Maybe it is time for something new? Unfortunately blacks are as notorious for selective outrage as the party that panders to them every four years. Hillary Clinton once talked about black youth the way most folks talk about dogs. Yet blacks came out in droves to nominate her over Bernie Sanders, a man who fought for civil rights back in the 60’s. 

BLM and its proponents yell and scream about how bad blacks have it in the inner city but they’re suddenly offended when Trump says the same thing. 

So no, Donald won’t make any inroads with blacks but it’s not entirely his fault. He shares the blame with a biased media and a minority that votes like a dumb ass monolith devoid of any critical analysis. 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

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2016 Solution: Two Party Amnesia

When you go to the grocery store you’ve got multiple brands of cookies from which to choose. You don’t just limit your choice to two when you see ten varieties up there. More to the point, if you have one bag of cookies from ten different brands on the shelf and two of those bags are already open, would you buy one of those two just because someone told you that you had to? We have multiple brands of presidential candidate available this year and yet most of us will limit ourselves to only two choices – the two open bags of contaminated cookies. What sense does that make? The notion that only one of the two major parties can win is the very definition of a self-fulfilling prophesy. This year, we have alternatives to suit just about every taste. So I suggest a mental exercise.

From now on, simply FORGET there is a Democrat and Republican party. I’m calling for self-induced amnesia. When you go into the voting booth in November, limit yourself to the four major alternatives, instead of the two contaminated front-runners. Let’s forget about Hillary and Donald and take a peek at the rest:

The Far Left

Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate. She is Bernie Sanders on steroids. She favors guaranteed housing and food for all (a wordy way of saying guaranteed minimum income). She wants migration to alternative fuels by 2030. She wants a committee to deal with the legacy of slavery. She wants a 50% cut in military spending. She calls her platform the “Power to the People Plan” and you almost get a 1960’s second-hand high just reading her positions. If you are a leftist, Jill is the one for you.

A Bit of Both

If you’re a fiscal hard-ass but socially liberal, the Libertarian party is offering up Gary Johnson. Gary wants to stay out of your doctor’s office and out of your bedroom. He wants to balance the budget (and it seems by any means necessary). To that end you can say goodbye to the Commerce Department  and the Department of Education. (Gary says “we need commerce, not a commerce department.”) He wants pot legal and more serious drugs handled though health services, not incarceration. Interestingly, he still wants the more serous drugs illegal so I’m unclear on what the “punishment” would be. You don’t want the gov snooping on your phone or restricting your Internet? Gary agrees with you. As a stylistic aside: when we look at photos, we either gravitate to the biggest object in the photo or we scan left to right. So it is odd that the campaign photo on Gary’s page has his running mate, Bill Weld on the left and Gary on the right. Gary is also shorter than Weld. The inevitable result is you either think Weld is Johnson (if you don’t know better) or you think Weld is running for President. In a recent Libertarian town hall, Johnson floated the idea of he and Weld sharing power almost equally. So maybe the picture is not a misstep after all?

The Right

Former CIA operative, Evan McMullin has launched an independent bid for the presidency rather late in the game. He will probably be on the ballot in only half of the country but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. His web site is full of generalities and probably has the least specific ideas of any other candidate discussed in this piece. That may be due to the relative youth of his campaign. Speaking of youth, if elected he would be our youngest elected President at only 40 years of age. Although short on specifics, his platform features a strong military, moving government as close to local as possible, the free market ruling over jobs and health care, strong borders and active participation in world affairs. He is presenting himself as the acceptable alternative to Donald Trump and in fact, Trump’s disastrous campaign seems to be the impetus for McMullin’s entrance into the race – although independent, his mission seems to be to save the GOP from itself.

The Far Right

Are you sick and tired of God being left out of politics? Do you believe the Constitution divinely inspired? Then the Constitution Party has the man for you – Darrell Castle. I only became aware of Castle today as I was researching this piece. Like McMullin, Castle will probably not be on the ballot in every state. That said, in the spirit of choosing the goddam brand of cookie you want, I cannot ignore Mr. Castle. He frequently quotes scripture. He favors exiting the United Nations and abolishing the Federal Reserve. He advocates the citizenry choosing whichever currency they wish to trade in (including bitcoin). He wants to overturn Roe V Wade. He strongly opposes legislating from the bench and feels the Supreme Court has exceeded its constitutional bounds.

Of the four candidates profiled here, McMullin is the least controversial. But I greatly admire the other three for staking out specific and somewhat extreme policy positions. We don’t care about politics anymore because our choices are really small variations on the same theme. Why aren’t we voting for people who truly stand for something?

So I implore you. Take a two by four. Whack yourself in the head. When you have regained consciousness, hopefully you will forget about the Dem’s and Republicans and instead, opt for one of the other choices. We only have a choice folks if we exercise it.

What do you think? The bar is open.

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Words About Words

Two phrases have been bandied about in recent weeks that caught my attention. The first is rather trivial. The second speaks to a deeper problem in American thought processes.

Love Trumps Hate

Someone thought this slogan, seen on placards at the Democratic Convention, was very clever. Trump (Donald’s last name) is used in card game parlance as a card of a suit that has been designated to beat any card of any other suit. As a verb, it has come to mean “beat”. So “love trumps hate” is equivalent to love beats hate. The logical problem here is that the verb “trump” plays a POSITIVE role in the sentence, love trumps hate. We are supposed to associate hate with Donald Trump. But his name is actually used as a positive acting verb. The slogan doesn’t really meet its purpose when you think about it. Two other permutations of the sentence would really have been more to the point: “love hates Trump” and “Trump loves hate”.

White Working Class Voters

Each time I hear this phrase it irks me more and more. It is common terminology among the talking heads of both liberal and conservative media.

The working class cuts across all races and ethnicities. To constantly refer to the white working class is to suggest race trumps class in this society. Why wouldn’t black working class voters like Trump? Why should their race override their economic concerns?

More bothersome is that blacks (and to some extent Hispanics) are portrayed in political talk as a monolith. You almost never hear phrases like “black college graduates” or “black suburban mothers” while whites are sliced and diced to the nth degree.

This is a pox on our society because it reduces blacks to a simple common denominator – their race. Nothing else matters. But I suggest that the black single mother in an urban ghetto has very different concerns from a black divorced mother in Westport, Connecticut collecting alimony every month from her wealthy ex-husband.

Let’s call this what it is – racism, plain and simple. It is propagated across the media regardless of political ideology. As I have stated many times here, our racial problems are grounded in economic problems. The struggling working class black man has much more in common with the struggling working class white man than the black man living in Beverly Hills. You’ll never hear that on TV. Not from Sean Hannity and not from Rachel Maddow. In fact, not from anywhere in popular discussion. And that is why our so-called racial problems are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

What do you think? The bar is open.