The growing positive attitude of black voters towards President Trump is the wildcard in the coming midterm elections. It is real and it is expanding. Polls are showing anywhere from 20 percent to 36 percent of blacks approve of President Trump. The Democrats even may have lost 11 percent of black women.
The cracks in the black Democrat bloc voting are one of the most consequential results of Barack Obama’s presidency and the phenomenal effectiveness of President Trump’s pro-business policies. This could be a historic turning point.
Trump’s economic policies have improved the lives of black Americans, just as he promised they would during the election. Unlike Obama’s media hype, Trump’s progress is as real and as solid as his buildings. Black unemployment continues to fall. Good manufacturing jobs are coming back. Paychecks are rising, too.
The roots of this political watershed in the black community are more complex than job figures and will last beyond Trump’s tenure. I have been listening for hours to ordinary black Americans on the #Walkaway movement’s YouTube channel. This is a movement of former Democrats explaining why they are leaving their party. While each face, voice, and story is unique and fascinating, there are some striking recurring themes.
Ironically, the change seems to have started with President Obama’s election.
President Obama raised the hopes of black Americans to the highest they’ve been since Martin Luther King. The entire country expected he would devote himself to getting blacks better schools, more jobs, higher wages, and safer neighborhoods. Instead, Obama ignored those bread-and-butter needs. His signature initiative was to send Eric Holder to stoke up publicity and fear in the wake of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown shootings.
In the short term, hyping fake white racism and police brutality worked to stanch the bleeding in black turnout in the 2012 election. In the long term, however, Obama’s reliance on racial fear and grievance increased black suffering. He broke people’s hearts and blew up many black voters’ loyalty to the Democrats.
The #Walkaway videos are remarkably consistent on that score. Obama got them paying attention to party politics for the first time. Next came the emotional roller coaster, as joy turned to disappointment. Obama’s identity politics agenda, now amplified by progressive Democrats, was a cynical ploy and it has become is a total turn off to those now paying attention. These black voters hate illegal immigration. Obama marked the end of their romance with the Democrat Party, not a new beginning.
Surprised by the Truth
Few of these ex-Democrats voted for Trump, but they were willing to give Trump a chance after the election. They find Trump Derangement Syndrome ludicrous. In fact, they love what he is doing. They appreciate the jobs he is creating, and they share his patriotism.
They are listening to—in some case meeting—deplorables and finding them kind, decent, and not racist.
A last, and very interesting theme, is after Obama got them engaged, most of these black Democrats started doing research on the internet. They were riveted learning the history of the Democratic Party. They care deeply and viscerally about slavery. What a shock to discover they had been lied to about it all their lives.
President Lincoln was not a Democrat, as they’d been led to think in school. It was not Republicans who were the party of racism, but Democrats. They learned for the first time that Democrats were slave owners. Over and over, they share their surprise at learning the Democrats are the party of Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan. Democrats are the party that destroyed the black family. Bill Clinton set off the explosion of black incarceration. They are done permanently as Democrats.
This is a revolutionary change of perspective on the identity of the two parties. It was mentioned in almost every video I watched.
Virtually every video begins with a statement like this one from a GenX woman: “I always followed the crowd. . . . Everybody is supposed to be a Democrat. Black people vote Democrat . . . . We were taught Republicans are all bad, racist, only care about the rich. I fell for that for quite a long time.”
Same words from a young business major: “I never truly chose the Democrat Party. Being the family I’m in, the area I’m in, the color I am. Everyone was Democrat by default . . . I never heard anyone debate any political issue . . . I was on a conveyor belt of ‘next Democrat’ . . . never had any information . . . I didn’t know which side was left (or) right. I was so uninformed, so many people around me uninformed.”
A working guy sounds a similar theme: “Way back when I was a kid, I was taught Republicans were evil white people who didn’t want to share with black people. Black people were Democrats. . . . there was a black party and a white party . . . I voted straight Democrat . . . I finally stopped voting . . . They’re all greedy, just another white man in the White House . . . I forgot all about it to be honest . . . didn’t know who was in office.”
Obama Raised Hopes—and Dashed Them
President Obama got millions of blacks interested in following politics for the first time in a long time. “Hope and change” was not an empty slogan to them. They felt it, deeply, emotionally. Even uninterested, cynical, disengaged people allowed themselves to get invested.
A young vet speaks for many. “I was so happy, I cried. I can’t believe I live in this day and age. I was told this would never happen because white America hates black people. That’s how I was raised . . . I was into him . . . I joined the military ’cause I wanted to serve Barack Obama.”
Another woman expressed what many others also said: “[Obama was] so eloquent, seemed intelligent, real cool . . . thought he’d try to get the inner cities together, get better education for black children. That’s what I assumed. Make things better for black people.”
A Millennial man who first voted in 2012 repeats the typical story. Obama got him interested. “This is going to be historic.” He began to do “binge political researching.”
Obama got these supporters involved, and euphorically hopeful. Then he let them down.
“As soon as he got in office, this dude started going sideways . . . this isn’t what we voted for,” the Millennial says. Obama focused on getting money and votes from greens, gays, feminists, and illegals, and used race-baiting to keep the black vote. They noticed nothing got better.
These are people who did not have the luxury to make excuses for Obama. Many in the black community are enduring real suffering—not the snowflake variety. They were looking for results, not left-wing virtue signaling. Obama broke the spell. Here was the ultimate Democrat who had a shot to come through and improve black lives, and he fired blanks.
Under Obama, says a YouTuber who calls himself “That Black Dude,” “I watched my paycheck decrease from $860 . . . after four more years to 690 bucks every two weeks . . . I can’t survive like this . . . and the news kept telling me that everything was great . . . this was the hope and change, and we have to get used to unemployment.”
“They just make promises and don’t do anything,” says another young black woman, “and our communities . . . education for our children are still jacked up . . . I didn’t see any progress for Americans, for working, everyday average Americans . . . Obama, all these promises he had not made and weren’t being kept.”
“Democrat Party have no plan, no direction, no future, no way of looking at growth . . . growing on hate is not what this country should be, wants to be,” says a man who goes by the handle “NtenseFit Way.”
A thoughtful young man explains his thinking in a video well worth your time:
All [Democrats] want to do is monetize white guilt . . . it’s not really productive, man, because we never address the core issues . . . . [Democrat] policies do not work . . . enough is enough. It is time to break the cycle. Me, I made a decision, man, I can no longer support the Democrat Party. Because they are not the party for black people, they’re not even the party of America. They are such a far-Left socialist party . . . I don’t know who they’re working for—it ain’t us. In every state they run . . . opportunities diminish . . . their policies are failed. . . . I can’t do it anymore. I’m conservative.
Some blame Obama by name. Many do not. But his failure to help, or even try, was their final break with the Democratic Party.
“All you seen since you were a kid and you were black were promises on things they were gonna change, things would become better. All you seen, things have become worse,” says a man who identifies himself as an ex-felon.
He asks and answers: “Who’s responsible, who’s running this system? It’s the Democrats. Destroyed the black family. Destroyed the black home . . . . They come every four years and they take take take and they don’t give you shit back. I’m tired of it, tired of the excuses.”
Identity Politics is a Loser
Hillary Clinton tried to follow in Obama’s footsteps with identity politics. But many black men feel targeted by feminism. Others are appalled by the Democratic Party’s promotion of abortion, which disproportionately targets black communities. Black men and women are furious that illegal aliens seem to receive better treatment from Democrats than American citizens. Intersectionality is failing to unite them with the other privileged grievance groups. These voters realize their interests are not identical or even similar to leftist politics.
Hillary personally was a turn-off and her corruption was appalling. A former Bernie Sanders supporter expresses his disgust, which extended from Clinton to all progressives, eventually including Sanders himself. “The thing that completely opened my eyes like someone threw cold water on you in the middle of the night . . . was the DNC rigging the election,” he says. “Those emails . . . money laundering through the Clinton Foundation . . . the whole shit show . . . The motherf—-r had all the questions to the debate, and she still lost the f—ing debate . . . starting with the election and past two years, bullshit and f—ery coming from liberals.”
The progressive Democratic Party has no positive message for blacks. “Party of victimhood. Party of excuses,” says Hermes Justin Wilson. “Those who see themselves as eternal victims will always stay that way . . . using black people as a stepping stool . . . keeping them low by having them stuck in this mindset.”
And then Donald Trump happened. Trump was nota turn off to them. He is familiar. Trump was known and liked by many blacks because of “The Apprentice.” They are fine with his braggadocio and outsized personality. They admire his success as a businessman. Some know his reputation as a friend of blacks. Some were willing to give him a hearing and a chance.
Even those who did not vote for Trump are open about how much they love him now. President Trump is delivering, big time, on jobs, on crime, on actually improving their daily lives.
Making Patriotism Cool Again
Trump is delivering on another thing a lot of these #Walkaways care about: patriotism and unity.
“We live in the greatest country on earth and I am proud to be an American,” says a well-dressed man who calls himself YG Nyghtstorm. “I am so happy to see so many of my fellow citizens standing against hatred and putting America first.”
Vanessa Rogers says: “I’m proud to say I’m an American. I love my country . . . Trump is doing a fabulous job.”
A Millennial who calls himself Mike Nificent says: “I am all about personal responsibility, individual liberty . . . I believe in the Constitution, I love America. I’m proud, I’m patriotic.”
A gay woman with the handle Bethegoldenera Ray explains: “I’m realizing conservative is not bad. It’s American values. I want free speech. I want the right to bear arms . . . .The only thing I heard the right say is get up, make something of yourself, this is America . . . why would people want socialism in this country? As a gay, black woman who is all about equality, I cannot believe the (Democrat) party I once believed in is so anti-American.”
The media crusade against President Trump leaves them cold. “A lot of black people like [Trump],” says a closet Trump supporter. Rappers talk about him all the time. . . . Let’s give the guy a try . . . Once I started researching things, watching his speech and how they reported it. It really is fake news. . . . Resist? What are you resisting? He’s president.”
From a well-educated, mature man: “Convince people through evidence and facts why your point of view is superior than your opponents and why your direction of the country is better. To say Donald Trump is going to destroy America while you’re destroying America is an oxymoron, it’s hypocritical . . . You need to get control of your emotions, brother . . . if you want to convince me, show me through your policies.”
They are listening to Republicans, they’re meeting them at work. They like them and realize they have shared values. They are finding out for themselves that Republicans are not racist. These black voters have Republican values on abortion, marriage, hard work, creating opportunities for people to make something of themselves, and loving America.
A college grad says: “I like that people on the right are way more open for conversation, for dialogue . . . examples, details, facts . . . being consistent . . . people on the right are way better at that.”
He concludes: “I’m about unity. I want this country to get better. I want race relations to get better. I want America to keep building and get stronger . . . we can barely make jobs for people. . .. I’m walking away from bad policies . . . corruption . . . Drain the swamp.”
If these were the opinions of a small group of mavericks, it would be interesting. If the poll numbers of black voters liking Trump are accurate at only 11 or 14 percent, it will seriously impact the swing states, lowering Democrats chances in 2020. If the numbers actually are 21 or 38 percent, America will never be the same. Democrats tell themselves that black voters turning to Trump is not real and it will go away. It is not going away.
Photo Credit: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images