So like most people, I've spent the past 6 days thinking about the election and how progressives are going to move forward over the next four years. I have a really good idea about that, but I'll keep it to myself for now as I'll be sharing my idea in full detail over the coming weeks.
Progressives shouldn't freak out, at least not yet haha. There are great opportunities that'll come out of a Trump presidency, not necessarily from Trump himself or his White House, but from us! Looking at the exit polls however, I present to you 5 things that give me hope for the future. I'll wait for more concrete post-election data to be released and if need be I will update my numbers here.
- There Was a #whitelash, But There Was No White Surge. According to exit polls, Donald Trump won the white vote by a record 21-point margin over Hillary Clinton by performing very well in rural areas. However, despite the narrative that some in the media have tried to spin...there was no surge of white voters. As a matter of fact, the white vote continued its decline in its power over the electoral pool of overall voters. In 2012, the share of the white vote constituted 72% of the electorate (this is down from 86% in 1984 when Reagan won in a landslide much greater than Trump's). In 2016, it's down to 70% and will likely continue to decrease in 2020. This is also evidenced by the fact that as of the current popular vote count, Donald Trump received 562,311 fewer votes than Mitt Romney who lost by 3.9% in 2012 to Barack Obama. So there was no white surge of voters and there was no "silent majority" turn out to put Black activists in their place as kool-aid drinking trolls on social media erroneously want to believe.
- The Trump Vote Was a Partisan Vote and Not Economic. At least not as driven by economics as some have tried to claim. How can I say this? Well first of all, the exit polls show that Trump didn't really bring any new voters of any significant size into the process this cycle. A mere 10% of voters said this was their first time voting and of that group, Hillary Clinton ran away with their support beating Trump 56-40. Many of those new voters likely being young voters anyway who are now of age and voting for the first time. This shows right here that the people who voted for Trump likely would've voted for whoever was at the top of the Republican ticket. The Trump vote was a partisan vote made by partisan Republicans. Plain and simple. Republicans who know the type of people and groups that Trump enables and they voted for him anyway. A decision made largely out of white privilege and white supremacy given the fact that Trump voters are predominantly white and don't have to worry about being kicked out the country like Mexicans. Banned from the country like Muslims, or stopped-and-frisked nationwide to further enlarge an already over-bloated prison system like Black people. All Trump supporters may not be racist, but they all enabled racist policies and racist people!
- Hillary Clinton WON The Working-Class Vote...Just Not the White Working-Class. To further prove that Trump's support among Republicans wasn't predominantly due to economic anxieties, the exit polls also show that Hillary Clinton actually won the working-class vote! Clinton beat Trump 52-42 among people who said the economy was their biggest concern!! She ran away with that block of voters. We also know from exit polls from CNN that voters who make less than $50,000/year voted for Clinton over Trump 52-41. Whereas 49% of voters who make over $50,000/year for Trump. People with MORE money voted for Trump, people with less money voted for Clinton. It's not to say that poor Whites didn't vote for Trump, some definitely did in rural counties, and they were energized whereas Democrats were not energized. However this idea that Trump got elected because of some poor white surge needs to be dropped. The 2016 election was basically the 2012 election without the Obama coalition. Which leads me to my next point...
- Turnout Was Down Huge on the Left. The Republicans didn't win if you want to be honest, the Democrats lost. Hillary Clinton got 4.8 million fewer votes than Obama in 2012 and 8.4 million fewer votes than Obama in 2008 (as of the current popular vote count for Clinton in 2016). Votes that could have tipped Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania (among other swing states) in her favor had her base been energized. People talk like the numbers Obama got are never going to happen again and I don't believe that. I think going forward, the issues facing the Black community must be addressed and they must be addressed progressively with radically progressive policy agendas. If you want Obama 2008/2012 numbers, then give Black people a real reason to go out and vote for you. Don't run some basic plutocratic politician and think you're going to inspire Blacks, to come out in droves to vote for you. 2016 proved that was a failing strategy. It also wouldn't hurt if you had Black leftists and progressives on the ticket either, I'm just saying.
- Don't Let the Blood Red Election Map Fool You, This Is Still the Country That Elected Barack Obama TWICE By Healthy Margins. Most important of all, I think folks have to remember that if we elected Obama twice, we can elect someone else like him again and it might even be easier in the future given the demographic changes America is going through and the decreasing strength of the white vote as shown above. Don't let one loss put you down and make you not want to ever involve yourself in politics again because we're going to need your help! If Trump is going to be a one-term President, then Democrats and progressives in general are going to have to turn out to stop him and the Republicans in 2018 and 2020. In the 2016 election, we saw what apathy can do to a country. In the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 Presidential election, we have to put that aside. At the same time though the Democrats need to run more progressive candidates that appeal to the base. They don't have to be zealots, but they have to speak the language on trade, war, criminal justice, etc that the base wants to hear. Democrats now see that their chances of winning without strong Black turnout are 50/50 at best. progressive Black voters are a major part of the democratic base and it's time our issues got addressed and placed higher up on the "to fix" list. We're tired of being marginalized with our issues being placed on the back burner, and we're tired of being used by the Democrats. I voted, but many of my Black brothers and sisters didn't and I don't blame them for their decision because the Dems didn't give them a reason to vote for them outside of "Donald Trump is a racist." Which may be true, but it's not a motivating factor to vote when Black men and women are being gunned down daily in the streets of America and their killers are allowed to walk without punishment. Don't scare-monger Black people about racism when it's already come out that the drug war was launched to attack Black people and hippies by a Nixon administration official...and that's been going on for decades!!!
So there you have it progressives, don't freak out over the election loss. I agree with others who have said that this is white supremacy's last hurrah and if it is, it's going to be a doozy...but we will live through it. We will survive it because we are strong, not to mention we completely outnumber them. Trump is already more disliked than any President to ever be elected, so he doesn't have the support of a majority of Americans. Don't let these racist, neo-nazi internet trolls fool you with their false bravado. There are more progressives and moderates in this country than rabid, right-wing Trumpsters. Not to mention Trump will lose even more support when/if he starts gutting the social gains made over the past 50 years on issues of rights for Black people, women's rights, etc, etc.
So we must ensure that Trump serves only one term. There is too much at stake in America and around the world to allow someone like him to be in power for 8 years. He can single-handedly destroy the future of our children with his incredibly backwards views on climate change.
Be on the lookout for more updates on Black and Intellectual, join the email list, check out the store and follow me across my social media channels. We're going to build our future, and we're going to do it together as one.