Many people think the Donald Trump presidency is a historical accident. They are bewildered about why it ever happened.
I believe the Trump presidency was inevitable. If Donald Trump had never been born, there would be a Trump Number Two to take his place. And if Number Two stumbled, there would be a Number Three.
The reason: There are social forces, helped along by the two major parties and the national news media, that made something like the Trump presidency inevitable.
Race is a paramount issue.
On that subject, Trump is politically incorrect. Intentionally so. Being politically incorrect is not racist. But it strikes an emotional chord with millions of people who dislike the way race has been handled by society in general and by politicians in particular.
For the past 20 years, Democrats and their allies have engaged in extreme race baiting – usually for the purpose of inflaming black voters and urging them to take out their rage at the polls. By extreme, I mean a thousand times worse than anything Donald Trump has ever said. Yet this overt race baiting has been completely ignored by the media, is apologized for by mainstream Democrats and has produced little more than whimpers of protest from most Republicans.
In 1998, a black man named James Byrd was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to his death by three white racists in Jasper, Texas. George W. Bush, who was governor at the time, condemned the act and made a $100,000 grant to help the prosecution. Two of the three men were convicted and executed. The third is serving a life sentence.
Yet in the 2000 presidential election, the NAACP spent $2 million on a TV commercial that has since been called “the ugliest ad in American politics in the last 20 years.” The ad, which you can view here, shows dark and menacing closeups of a fast-moving pickup truck, connected to large chains – leaving viewers to imagine what it would have been like for a human to have been attached. A voiceover by Byrd’s daughter says that Gov. Bush opposed hate crime legislation – wrongly implying that he was indifferent to getting justice for Byrd. (Texas already had a hate crime law on the books at the time.)
What was President Bush’s response? He meekly refused to attend the next NAACP convention.
In 2017, a commercial produced by the “Latino Victory Fund” depicted an ominous pickup truck flying a Confederate flag with a (Republican gubernatorial candidate) “Gillespie” bumper sticker. The truck was trying to mow down frightened Hispanic children, who were running to escape.
The Republican response? No one can remember it.
Barack Obama himself (on the eve of an election) brought national attention to the claim that a black youth named Trayvon Martin was the victim of a white-on-black murder. In fact, the shooter was a Hispanic with black ancestry, who was later found in court to be acting in self-defense.
In 2014, a black delinquent named Michael Brown was killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Long after the claim was completely debunked, Democratic politicians continued to say that he had raised his arms and yelled, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”
At the Democratic Party Convention in 2016, Hillary Clinton had the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown sitting on the stage in front of a national TV audience. It was an act of pure race-baiting that went unremarked by the media, by Republicans, or by anyone else.
In modern American history, in election after election, one side has sought to divide us by race. One side has shown no restraint at all in its attempt to provoke resentment, bitterness and hate. Their opponents have meekly acquiesced. The media has said nothing. Had Donald Trump been equally divisive and racist in the other direction he would not be President. He was elected because he is the first Republican to confront hypocrisy in the other party and call it out.
Consider the social context in which all this is occurring. American families have watched the country elect a black President. They have watched high-profile African Americans earn millions of dollars in sports, in entertainment and in business. Economic studies show there is no pervasive wage discrimination in the labor market. In fact, former Congressional Budget Office director June O’Neill says black women earn more than white women, other things equal. And that has been true for many years.
Yet white voters are told that they are the undeserving beneficiaries of “white privilege” and that they should consider paying reparations to anyone with dark skin. On college campuses, black students can segregate in their own dorms, have separate parties and even separate graduations. They can say almost anything they like without fear of censorship. White students cannot do these things.
In affirmative action run amok, very few of the black students on the Harvard campus are descendants of American slaves. Most are immigrants from other countries. Harvard assuages its guilt based on skin color alone.
Before Trump, people who think enough is enough had no voice in the American political system.
That is not to say that black families aren’t disadvantaged. They are. In our inner cities, all too often their children go to the worst schools, they live in the worst housing, and they are subjected to the worst environmental harms.
Donald Trump is the first national figure to point out that almost all of these cities are run by Democrats. The worst oppressors of black families are Democratic politicians.
Many of the controversial things Donald Trump criticizes – taking a knee at football games, using the “f word” to describe the White House, etc. – reflect what millions of voters also think, but are often too afraid to vocalize. Alone among national political figures, and with constant harassment from the mainstream media, Trump refuses to be intimidated by political correctness.
That’s why he is President.