Sadly, but predictably, the usual suspects in the racial grievance industry seek to trivialize what was perhaps the greatest political revolution in the modern era by simplistically depicting President-elect Donald Trump’s victory as a clash of whites against blacks. According to CNN contributor Van Jones, Trump’s defeat of Clinton represents a “whitelash against a changing country [and] a whitelash against a black presidency.” Similarly, Slate writer Jamelle Bouie has stereotyped Trump voters as men and women who are supposedly bent on the “restoration of white authority” after “eight years in which cosmopolitan America asserted its power and its influence. . . .”
The current attempt by prominent white and black liberals to smear all Trump supporters as bigots is not just wrong: it is racist. Leaving aside the fact that Bouie’s beloved “cosmopolitan America” has bequeathed to blacks failed public schools, multiple riots, and an increasing racial wealth gap over the past eight years, it is undeniable that millions of Trump voters rejected Republican and Democratic establishment candidates alike not to restore “white authority,” but because they had woken up to the fact that political elites in both parties had rigged the system to benefit themselves and their wealthy donors at the expense of poor and working-class Americans.
The racist suggestion that most if not all of Trump supporters are closet white supremacists is untenable. As political columnist Nate Cohn acknowledged, “Clinton suffered her biggest losses in the places where Obama was strongest among white voters. It’s not a simple racism story.” Indeed, “Clinton failed in areas of the country where Obama’s support had been strongest among white Americans. She failed to keep pace with Obama in the Rust Belt states that he won repeatedly.” The sad irony, though, is that because it is so ingrained in liberals to accuse those who disagree with them of being racists, millions of white voters who elected the candidate of “hope and change” as the nation’s first black president are now being smeared as bigots for backing Donald Trump who promises to change a broken, rigged political and economic system that Obama failed to fix.
Unfortunately, activists in the racial grievance industry are so blinded by claims of black victimization that they fail to see that other people are hurting too. As Bill Clinton recently acknowledged, millions of white working-class Americans feel like they have been left behind and “don’t have anything to look forward to when they get up in the morning. Because their lives are sort of stuck in neutral.” This isn’t because they feel blacks and Hispanics have taken over their country—a fiction peddled by liberal elites—it is because over the past three decades, the wages of the top 1 per cent in America have risen by 138 percent while middle income wages growth collapsed, with wages for middle-wage earners rising by an average of just 0.2 per cent a year.
As Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist to Vice President Biden, recently confirmed, the wages of blue-collar workers in manufacturing have flatlined since the 1970s and, “since 2000, it’s stagnation and worse.” On top of this economic pain, a “horrifying heroin epidemic” is ravaging rural and suburban communities, an epidemic fueled by drugs smuggled across the Mexican border by illegal aliens. And, as if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Trump voters are painfully aware that radical Islamic terrorists want to destroy their country and to slaughter innocent men, women, and children.
For affluent black liberal elites like Van Jones and Bouie to try to make the Trump revolution about them is the height of narcissism. Sure, a minority of Trump supporters come from the racial fringes, but to smear Trump voters en masse based on the statements of a few is the moral equivalent of stereotyping all blacks as criminals based on the actions of some within our community. Trump’s victory isn’t a simple story of white over black, it’s a tale of average American citizens rising up against establishment politicians in both parties who have failed to fulfill their campaign promises for decades, who have turned their backs on the working-class, and who have sent millions of decent-paying jobs overseas to benefit the bank accounts of wealthy corporate donors.
So, rather than demonizing an entire swath of voters, black Americans, who have been betrayed for decades by Democrats in the inner-cities and by the incompetent members of the Congressional Black Caucus, should learn from Trump supporters. They have shown us that the way to effect meaningful change is not to burn down your own communities or march in the streets wearing hoodies. Instead, you can vote for change by rejecting establishment politicians who have rigged the current system to benefit themselves and their cronies at the expense of the people they are supposed to represent.
Nick James is the nom de plume of a trial attorney in the D.C. area who formerly worked for the United States Department of Justice as an award-winning federal prosecutor.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.