After race-baiting 'law and order' rhetoric, Trump asks black Americans 'what do you have to lose?'

Daily Kos
August 19, 2016
By Hunter

One of the odder moments in what from now until next Monday-ish will be referred to as Donald Trump's "apology speech" was his overt appeal to black Americans. It was, as usual for Trump, light in the specifics.
“Look at how badly things are going under decades of Democratic leadership — look at the schools, look at the 58 percent of young African-Americans not working,” Trump added. "It is time for change.
“What do you have to lose by trying something new? I will fix it. This means so much to me, and I will work as hard as I can to bring new opportunity to places in our country which have not known opportunity in a very long time.”
What makes the question what do you have to lose by trying something newparticularly odd is that Donald Trump and echobox Mike Pence spent the last few daysrolling out a "law and order" platform that condemned talk of police racism as "a war on police" perpetrated by "rioters" and "violent disruptors," declaring that what black Americans needed in their neighborhoods was not a better police presence, but a higher police presence. It was not at all something new. On the contrary, it was cribbed from standard race-baiting Republican rhetoric of the last 30 years, and proposed the same sit-down-and-shut-up solutions, and stoked the same conservative white fears of the inherent dishonesty and criminality of the other, and seemed a fairly decent summary of what do you have to lose.
Donald Trump has been quite concise in his explanations to every non-white or non-Christian or simply non-conservative-enough demographic as to what they have to lose. If you are Hispanic, we are going to be checking your papers to make sure you belong here. If you are Muslim, we are going to be forming "commissions" to see if your views are American enough. If you are black, we are going to police you more heavily—for your own good—because the root problem here is not the one you are protesting against, but the inherent criminality of your neighborhoods. It has made him a hero of the white supremacist community, and southern supporters of “heritage,” and of radio hosts concerned about the plight of the “white family.”

None of this is to say that the Democratic Party has listened to black Americans enough or has made progress enough combating institutional racism in police departments, or in state governments, or in the judiciary, or all the other places where it is still endemic. But Trump is asking for a new constituency of black Americans to trust him to “fix it,” whatever the ambiguous “it” is, at the same time his party institutes a wave of voter restrictions tailored to block their votes, and condemns protests against police violence as just another group of agitators looking to "riot" and "loot" and considers environmental catastrophes in places like Flint, Michigan, to be little more than another unfortunate oops in the long-running campaign to carve up American infrastructure and sell what remains to the highest bidder.
It was an odd moment. That ever-so-slightly chastened Trump, the fear of God finally put into him by a new round of polls marking his campaign as headed not just for a loss, but one that would put his picture in the history books as the face of a thumping so gigantic that future American children will have to answer quiz questions about it, asking all listeners what they have to lose by taking a shot on the wealthy no-nothing xenophobe, the man lauded by white supremacists and neo-Nazis and nationalist goons in every state, running on the ticket of a party that spites them on a daily basis.
What, indeed.


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