Breaking Brown

March 2, 2016

Tavis Smiley: Black Clinton Voters May Switch to Trump in General Election

Tavis Smiley: Black Clinton Voters May Switch to Trump in General Election

In South Carolina and on Super Tuesday, African-American voters came out overwhelmingly for the candidate favored to become the Democratic nominee–Hillary Clinton. According to Tavis Smiley, however, it would be a mistake for Clinton to believe she has African-American voters “on lock down.”

Even though Clinton has support from black establishment politicians, and probably the black president, Smiley says he sees no reason for Clinton’s campaign to get complacent.

To begin with, Smiley doesn’t necessarily believe that black voters will come out for Clinton in numbers similar to Obama’s 2008 election. Smiley also sees tension in what is sometimes called the black/brown coalition.

From Smiley’s op-ed in USA Today:

Second, the number of everyday black voters who we assume will dismiss Trump because of his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attacks might well be inflated. While I certainly have had my say about Trump being a “religious and racial arsonist” (and he responded quickly on Twitter), not everyone in black America agrees with me. I have been taken by myriad conversations I’ve had with black folk who don’t find those comments by Trump necessarily or automatically disqualifying. In the coming days, we will see whether his initial refusal last Sunday on CNN to disavow the endorsement of David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy might anger black voters. Interestingly, almost two months ago, CNN ran a story about a white supremacist group doing robocalls for Trump in Iowa. He didn’t denounce them then and seems to not have suffered for it.


Third, though it is true that black/brown political coalitions have had strategic successes, it is also true that there have been plenty of other occasions where the interests of black and brown voters didn’t exactly align. In California where I live, Latinos are still smarting from the lack of black voter support in 1994 to help defeat the anti-immigrant Proposition 187. At best, it’s a big assumption to think that both the black political establishment and everyday black voters share the same sentiment on Trump’s anti-immigrant stance. Scary, but honestly, I’m not so sure.

When Trump, as opposed to Bernie Sanders, becomes Hillary Clinton’s opposition, it seems that all bets are off. And other brown people shouldn’t necessarily assume that African-Americans share their political outlook or policy agenda.

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14 thoughts on “Tavis Smiley: Black Clinton Voters May Switch to Trump in General Election

  1. PatriciaNicolas says:

    Wow, people are just completely dismissing Bernie Sanders. Not that I think he would be much better for blacks than Hillary. I’m a actually curious at what a Trump presidency would look like for us. You never know, maybe he would be good for us.

  2. Rick Manigault says:

    Tavis is right again about basic concepts we all understand, remember when West and Smiley did a Poverty initiative? I heard respected people say ” they didn’t do a poverty initiative when we had a white President”. Trump is a racist(like all Caucasians)  who says stupid things, running against a centrist who’s historically wrong and any informed human hates. A man who supports torture is more attractive than an Israel firster with to bankster ties, no room for me in these parties but I’ve never heard Zionist dog whistles till trump talked about “middle easterners” celebrating on 911.

  3. Trueletter son says:

    it’s going to be interesting!

  4. Johnw11 says:

    I’m confused. How could a Clinton voter turn into a Trump voter? Unless Tavis is saying that Clinton will not be the nominee, and therefore her Black voters would prefer Trump over Sanders. That makes about as much sense as an ant trying to ride a bike.
    While chances are Hillary will not be the nominee giving the trends of the country, and even if she is the nominee, that’s as far as she’s going to get (based on a wide range of polls) no matter what Blacks do in the fall, I find it difficult to believe that significant numbers of Blacks will vote for Trump over Sanders. And that is the only way one could be a Hillary voter and not vote for her if she is the nominee, otherwise they are not Hillary voters.
    While obviously the powers that be don’t want the point I’m about to make made, which is why they keep hacking my comment, the facts are as follow:
    The only thing some Blacks agree with Trump about is immigration. And that agreement is misinformed. Immigrants are not the cause of Black job losses.
    The causes of Black job losses are neoliberal deindustrialization / AKA job offshoring and the Clinton crime bills of the 1990s that “selectively” locked-up Blacks and legally made it so they couldn’t get a job (even-low paying ones not off-shored by NAFTA) after their release.
    While I will never vote for Trump, the GOP attacks on him, accusing him of being a racist is so hypocritical they almost break the hypocrite template. What has Trump said that GOPers don’t say all the time, either verbally or in policy prescriptions, e.g., framing their cuts to social safety net programs in racial terms in order to trick their ignorant base voters to submit to cuts to their own socio-economic  interests by appealing to their stereotypical biases. Then they give the cut funds to their Wall-Street campaign funders. That’s where the Clintons learned that behavior from.
    While I will never vote for Trump (or a Clinton), what has Trump said that Reagan didn’t say? In fact, he was worst than Trump ever was: “You work hard all day,” he told gullible whites, ” and then you go to the supermarket  and buy a pork chop because that’s all you can afford, because of your ‘big government’ high taxes, and ahead of you in line is a Buck [ extremely racist term for Black male] buying a prime steak with food stamps.” And then there was his “welfare queens.” I’ve never heard Trump say anything like that. And then there’s Paul Ryan, who was made GOP Speaker of the House after saying, “those inner city people [Blacks] don’t want to work. Just lay up on the tax payers for free.”
    The real reason they are coming out against Trump, is the same reason they oppose Sanders. Neither is depending on Wall-Street for campaign funds. That means neither can be controlled.
    While sanders’ funding comes from millions of private citizens, Trump pays for his campaign out of pocket. Trump’s antics appeal to the fed-up ignorant who believe that the decline in living standards they are experiencing is caused by scapegoated groups, Mexicans, Blacks, etc. In this sense, Trump is diverting attention from the root cause of the problem, wealth and income inequality and the greed of the class in which he holds membership. Trump appeals to ignorance.
    On the other hand, Sanders appeals to intelligent people who are fed-up with Trump’s class’s greed and over-reach. That’s the fundamental difference between the two.
    The only Blacks who will vote for Trump are those who are doing it now unknowingly. They are doing it unknowingly because they believe that by voting for her, they are stopping Trump. But what they don’t know is that since Hillary cannot beat Trump, according to a variety of polls, and the same polls say that Sanders can be Trump, then their vote for Hillary becomes a vote for Trump.

  5. Rick Manigault says:

    PatriciaNicolas Trump is a racist billionaire, that might not have my little cousins killed in the next war for nothing, Building Apple products here is the stuff I say to people and get ridiculed for.

  6. PatriciaNicolas Now that is a frightening response.

  7. THE JEWISH trolls on this website are so obvious the blind could see, the JEWISH political establishment does not want TRUMP for one simple reason , they can’t buy him,TRUMP has his own money he’s his own man and for that reason the JEWS can’t use him .
    AND this is why you see the vicious attacks coming at TRUMP from all sides, I don’t agree with everything TRUMP say’s but we know he’s saying it and not some JEW adviser telling him what to say !
    TO the JEWS of this country , this is the beginning of the end, the dumb goyim has finally woken up , the smart thing to do is take your money and run , but knowing the type of people you are , you would rather burn the country to the ground !

  8. NoelleCrowner says:

    I think that Bernie Sanders policies are much more aligned with MLK, Malcolm X, and the Black panthers.

  9. HANNIBAL the VICTOR says:

    NoelleCrowner PatriciaNicolas Bernie Sandrs has promised black people the same thing that Hillary and Donald Trump have. NOTHING!

  10. Johnw11 says:

    ROBERT JORDAN  Dude, you need to take your right-wing white supremacist ignorance someplace else. First you repeat what  I’d already said below as to the reason the Establishment is opposing Trump — because they didn’t buy him. And that’s correct.
    But then, unable to control your ignorance, you lash out at Sanders religious faith as if he’s running on his faith and not his policies. No one is supporting Sanders because of his faith, people are supporting him because of his policies. His platform to fight against wealth inequality; to fight for tuition free state colleges and universities; his fight for a minimum wage of $15 per hour; his pledge to target $5 billion to high unemployment communities to put people to work which will end the socioeconomic misery of the poor and make communities safe,  thus ending unnecessary suffering; his pledge to an overall nationwide $trillion jobs program to put the many thousands out of work since 2008 back to work; his pledge to expand Social Security for the elderly, and his pledge to decrease the high cost of health care, on and on.
    In other words, intelligent people support Sanders.
    You on the other hand, rage against his religion with such vitriol that you cannot be other than a bigoted nutcase.  Your bigotry prevents you from seeing that Sanders offers you a way out of your trailer park, while Trump offers you nothing but narcissistic con talk. Trust me, I’m well aware of the psychology driving your line of thinking. Unable to think systemically — how factors and variables interact to cause outcomes, for example the off shoring of jobs and other socioeconomic policies made in legislative bodies that favors Trump’s 1% class — you are attracted to Trump’s fake tirades against scapegoated groups, Mexicans, Muslims, and although you don’t say it Blacks. These are simply con games he runs to misdirect anger while protecting his own 1% controlling class.
    This he does while you “project” your own out of context bigotry onto him. He’s your Rorschach Test. When you see him, you see what you subconsciously want to see. You do not seek details, therefore you have none. And when you are presented with details, you deny them, preferring your imaginary world in order to avoid cognitive dissonance (holding two conflicting views at the same time). For example, despite the fact that Trump routinely employs immigrants to build his real-estate structure, you by his rhetoric that he wants to deport them, so on and so on. You fail to see that Trump is telling you what you think and feel, rather than what he thinks and feels.
    In one sense I pity you, and in another sense I don’t. My ambivalence is rooted in the fact that if you feel that way about Sanders and he’s white like you, you must harbor even greater intense hatred for African Americans.
    Lastly, Trump has not offered to take you out of that trailer park, Sanders has. So, if you wish to get out of that trailer, you must stop allowing your bigotry blind you and “Feel The Bern.”

  11. Rick Manigault says:


    The recent attacks on Trump over the last two weeks were 100% fabricated events by those in the media with control, One group of people vehemently opposes his foreign policy to the point of dismantling the Republican party(probably a good thing) and sabotaging the nominee.

    Ending the wars is half the battle. A portion of the gop like Laura Ingram and AJ Delgado have turned into Cindy Sheehan like antI-war activist, with contempt for foreign conflict which fueled that last 2 administrations.

    First we take out the warmongers, then move on to the big banks.

  12. Johnw11 says:

    NoelleCrowner PatriciaNicolas  Good for you. You have been paying attention to Sander’s platform rather having your head stuck in the sand.
    I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s proposing what Malcolm proposed, or the Panthers (except his 40+ years advocacy for  locking up racists who lynch Blacks under the ‘color of law’). But he is proposing EXACTLY what MLK proposed.
    If your state hasn’t voted yet, please EDUCATE your family, friends, everyone you know. Tell them that this might very well be Blacks’ last chance to realize MLK’s vision and advocacy of an equalitarian society: full employment for all, ending poverty and the suffering (social disorganization and psychological despair) it causes, economically accessible higher education, livable wages, on and on.
    And if they don’t listen, move on to the next one. Time is of the essence, and we don’t have time for fools.

  13. Johnw11 Since you’ve had your head in the sand about Malcolm X and the Panthers (you believe the media hype about who they were instead of finding out for yourself), you’re totally wrong.  Noelle Crowner is correct.  And don’t ever forget that MLK said that he was afraid that he was integrating black people into a burning house.

  14. Johnw11 says:

    Elizabeth Faraone What is the basis of the point you’re trying to make? Either you have a comprehension problem, or seeking to draw attention to yourself. Maybe it’s both. At any rate, don’t expect a back and forth from me.
    I believe media hype? Are you insane, or just new around here?
    I’m certain “SISTER” NoelleCrowner received my point well. If not, she will say so. She knows that I was not in disagreement with her overall point, which was correct. 
    On other the hand, here you come with nonsense, and you don’t know the first of what you’re talking about.
    Stop trying to instigate conflict between Blacks!

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