by Mark Riley
A couple of weeks ago, a young man called my radio show and offered the notion that young Black and Latino men might well be the swing vote that puts Donald Trump in the White House. I scoffed at the idea at the time. Donald Trump? Why would young people from my community back a developer who has had a problematic relationship with it throughout his public life? Why would young Blacks and Latinos take Trump seriously when everybody knows he could never win......
Suddenly it dawned on me I was looking at Trump the way a middle aged Black political commentator would. The way the rest of the media does. Donald Trump is a flamboyant playboy and not much else, the logic goes. Then (I swear this happened after the call to me), the New Yorker runs an item by Jane Mayer that essentially said the same thing that young man told me over the phone. Trump's own researchers say his strongest supporters are Blacks, Latinos, and whites making less than $25,000 a year. How can this be explained? The most logical reason comes from David Bositis of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Donald Trump spends a lot of his time hanging out with rap stars and other Black celebrities. He's tight with people like Muhammad Ali, Sammy Sosa, Puffy Combs and Russell Simmons. These are just the kind of people young Black men (and women) dream about socializing with. Is this a valid reason to vote for a candidate? History teaches us there are no invalid reasons. Way back in 1960, women across America helped elect John F. Kennedy President by a razor thin margin over Richard Nixon. Was it his politics? His position on issues? Maybe, a little. However, pollsters of the day found out to their surprise that many American women voted for JFK because of his good looks and not much else.
Russell Simmons told the New Yorker Blacks love Trump because he's embodies the way they'd live their lives if they had money. Some Trump enthusiasts ought to temper their support by remembering Trump supports New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose been nothing short of a horror show for Blacks in this city. Supporting a politician because he hangs out with rappers can certainly be done. People should vote for whoever they choose. The problem is simply that it's not smart politics to vote for anyone until you know what they're ready to do for your community. In Donald Trump's case, support should be earned by deed, not photo-op. Readers in the New York Metropolitan Area can tune in to "Politics Live"
Readers in the New York Metropolitan Area can tune in to Politics Live with Mark Riley Monday through Friday from 1 to 4PM on WLIB, 1190AM Radio in New York City. Please send comments to: email@example.com
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