At a rally in Akron, Ohio, in an attempt to court Black and Latino voters and cast off his handily built persona of a thoughtless, misogynistic and intolerant bully, Donald Trump made this passionate and honest entreaty to minorities concerning the promise of his hopefully impending administration. He said this,
Look, it is a disaster the way African-Americans are living, in many cases, and, in many cases the way Hispanics are living, and I say it with such a deep-felt feeling. What do you have to lose?
“What do you have to lose?” I ask myself how can one not be moved and impressed by such an uncomplicated and unembellished appeal for votes from someone seeking the Presidency. In a world that routinely gives us politicians overpromising and under-delivering, it’s political correctness so astutely preposterous, under the circumstances, that it becomes the antithesis of itself.
Yet, it’s that same give-it-to-you straight quality that exposes Trump’s still present liability in gathering the votes this late in the game of those he finally realizes he needs. It lends a question to the candidate, is this as good as it gets?
Unfortunately for his campaign, it might be. His issue is no different from the one that’s plagued Republicans for at least the last 25 years; how to connect to an ever-growing minority voting bloc. And one that almost unswervingly votes Democrat. If this is what Ben Carson has called, “prepping the ground for what’s to come” I’m uncertain if we’re ready for it.
So far, the new Trump has only surfaced at mostly white crowds. If Trump follows through on his promise to ride the campaign trail through some of America’s rougher hoods, imagine what happens if he unleashes his version of social truth onto the darker congregation. As sickening the prospect of Race Relations 101 with Professor Trump is it’s something the minority community should gird her loins for. It’s coming, at least on paper.
That’s because it’s the only thing left for him to do. What we’re about to witness is a suicide effort and a clash of ideas, temperament and power. On the one hand we have Trump’s new staff, coming in and immediately trying to soften the candidate and broaden his appeal to include Blacks and Latinos. And then there’s Trump, who’ll only be softened to the extent that we’re seeing, which doesn’t begin to filter out as much as it should.
Then again, it’s a question of understanding and connections. The Republican Party on a whole doesn’t know the minority community (Trump questions if the Democrats do, another tidbit of horrible truth); at least not as much or in the ways that it should. And its running discourse provided by popular pundits does little to educate or enlighten their constituents. Nevertheless, you know they’re cringing at the thought of a serious discussion on race with Donald Trump leading the way as the only participant espousing conservative values.
Hey, we wanted a conversation. And we just might be getting one real soon; courtesy of the unlikeliest of sources.
Washington Post Quote: Wash Post; Phillip Rucker, Robert Costa, Jenna Johnson; Inside Donald Trump’s new strategy to counter the view that he is ‘racist’; 8/23/16