Race relations after eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, which augured so much for that aspect of his election, were arguably in no better shape in 2017 than they were in 2009. It might be said that the most obvious manifestation was the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, hardly a sign of progress.
There is a case to be made that the Trump administration has achieved more racial harmony overall, despite obvious setbacks like Charlottesville.
Black unemployment has fallen to the lowest rate in history. President Trump has pardoned and commuted the sentences of historical and current high-profile figures who have been wronged, and passed bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, the First Step Act.
Such progress has seen a corresponding rise in President Trump’s approval rating, with polling averaging 16% in one study, a 100% increase over his actual 2016 vote.
Much of the analysis of Trump’s surprising (to the pundit class) election victory has focussed on supposed “white resentment of minorities” as a driving factor.
That these same supposed resentful whites had voted twice for President Obama before turning to then-candidate Trump belies the basic concept no matter the implausible liberal analysis.
But it would be foolish to put aside the whole argument as race challenges have of course not vanished from the American scene.
Given there was a degree of “white resentment,” then what might have been the cause?
It is fair to consider that the same condescension from the liberal elites to the white working class and its economic and social concerns also led to whatever degree of racial resentment may have been present.
This condescension was made strikingly clear in the near automatic response from the progressive left to any criticism of President Obama.
“It’s because he’s black,” “why are you afraid of the scary black man in the White House?” or some other endless variation of the same theme.
If you criticized Mr. Obama, then you clearly are, or at least at heart, a racist.
Eight years of that endless meme being the immediate answer to any and all attempts at dialogue surely contributed to any reasonable person feeling that the left was using an unanswerable cudgel to stifle genuine dissent and concerns.
A Kamala Harris presidency would lay the groundwork for a deeper sense of white resentment as the left would double-down on that meme.
“You are not only a racist but a woman hater, worse, a black woman hater” would immediately appear in all possible variations.
The effect on whites would be compounded after having experienced the same brand of attack under Obama. To have it doubly rendered under Harris would breed a dangerous racial, social and inter-gender environment.
This is not a matter of any conjecture.
Within days of Harris formally announcing her campaign, progressives commenced the meme.
”Voters who might choose Schultz over Kamala Harris (do we need to spell it out for you?) might make a different choice with Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown on the ballot.”
And again; “I am worried about the inevitable sexist and racist attacks Harris will probably endure during this campaign. Simply existing as a black woman ensures that Harris is constantly under siege”
Harris tweeted her clear intent to make racism a major focus of her campaign and presumably her presidency.
“Let’s speak an uncomfortable but honest truth with one another: racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia are real in this country. They are age-old forms of hate with new fuel. And we need to speak that truth so we can deal with it.”
And before any corroborating police investigation, she called the alleged attack on Jussie Smollet a “modern day lynching.”
One would have to go back to the 1948 Strom Thurmond-led States Rights presidential campaign to see such an overt and preposterous, if not genuinely frightening, appeal to the basest instinct in race relations.
“Lynching is a dark and despicable part of our nation’s history, yet it is still not a federal hate crime. Passing a federal anti-lynching law must be a priority for this new Congress.”
How such statements can possibly indicate a Harris presidency would commence a new era of mutual respect for all, and allow for an unfettered dialogue between opposing points of view, utterly escapes me.
The only recent recorded case of lynching was a random attack in 1981, for which the perpetrator was tried and executed. According to the Tuskegee Institute, there has not been a lynching in Mississippi since 1955.
Certainly a formal apology is required from Congress, but this is a law in search of victims, and as such hardly a priority.
Reasonable people have much to consider and critique in Harris’s announced agenda. But it is apparent this will not be allowed to happen with some degree of freedom without being labelled a hater, racist and misogynist.
A President Harris would be a further descent into the maelstrom of racial and gender animus with the force of a presidency behind it.