Updated: Sep 24, 2019
One of the most interesting parts of our political system is that there are no rules or requirements regarding how a person can decide how to vote. One is free to vote for the candidate who is taller, more handsome, from their home state, plays tennis, went to A. S. U., or happens to sound the most like their cousin Ed.
A system where people were somehow required to base their decisions on facts and issues would sometimes yield a different result than does ours. But among our freedoms is the freedom to be stupid. We can be uninformed, unintelligent, and unconcerned, and still vote. That is a freedom that millions of people embrace on a quadrennial basis.
It is often said that, in politics, perception is reality. People make decisions, and cast votes, according to what they believe to be the case, not what is true. So when they claim the Republican Party is racist it is in spite of the fact that the Democratic Party was the parent and protectorate of slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, Eugenics, and today’s policies that see about forty per cent of all black children dying at the hands of an abortionist. The fact that those institutions were brought to us largely or entirely by Democrats does not change the perception that Democrats are the friends of black Americans and Republicans their enemy.
Perhaps the most interesting application of the theory that "our enemies are all racist" was when AOC, the darling of the socialist wing of the Democratic Party, said Nancy Pelosi was racist. It apparently becomes a habit for the "squad;" since they can't win arguments with facts and logic, just immediately begin calling people names. Yet, if everyone is racist, no one is.
Which brings us to President Trump. He has been widely called everything from a misogynist to a xenophobe to a child rapist. And those are some of the nicer things. Moreover, the media intentionally and effectively reinforce those tropes by reporting them and using them as lead-ins to questions. Thus, Don Lemon (who is openly biased, stands accused of sexual assault, and is a viable contender for the title of dumbest person in television journalism) can ask Democrats in a debate about Trump’s “racist tweets” as if that opinion were uniformly acknowledged as fact. In the absence of use of the “n” word or something else manifestly racist, the perception that his tweets are racist is entirely a judgment call. You may agree that they are, but you could not prove it in a court of law.
Shakespeare said in Hamlet “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” That may be a bit of a stretch, but not much. A tweet about someone who hates America may sound to a conservative like “love it or leave it.” To an anti-Trumper, the mainstream media, or any of the Democratic candidates, it’s prima facie racist.
You hear constantly that Americans think race relations have gotten worse under Trump. This recent survey, by NBC, show most people think that race relations are actually better today than three years ago. Race relations declined under Obama, but have actually improved under President Trump.
A Rasmussen poll in 2016 showed that 60% of likely voters thought relations between races had deteriorated over the prior eight years, under Obama. And a Gallup poll that year found that the share of blacks who felt race relations were good plunged from 66% in 2013 to 49% in 2016.
I don’t think most of President Trump’s supporters ignore his flaws. I also don’t believe most of his supporters are racist. We look at politics as presenting binary choices, which it does, and will ask the same question in 2020 that we did in 2016: who will be better for the country over the next four years, Donald Trump or his opponent? Under Trump, we have prospered, unemployment for blacks, Hispanics, and women is at an all-time low, and economic growth has increased. Each of the Democrats, however, favors more government, higher taxes, and less economic freedom? It is not a difficult choice to make.