How the Fuck Did Trump’s Black Vote Grow in 2020?

Thousands of African Americans really wanted a second term for one of history’s most racist presidents

There is a branch of Islam referred to as the Five Percent Nation. Its name derives from the belief that the world population is broken down into three percentages. Eighty-five percent of people are ignorant to the evil of the world in which they live and the fact that the original man is the Black man. The 5% — the Five Percenters — know the truth within and around themselves and aim to “civilize” the 85% with education. Then there’s the remaining 10% of the population. They are as aware as the Five Percenters, except their agenda is to curate practices and systems that keep the masses “deaf, dumb, and blind.”

While the Five Percent Nation was created by and for the betterment and protection of Black men and women, it’s an unfortunate fact that a significant portion of the 85% includes Black men and women.

The 2020 presidential election was a prevalent reminder. More than 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. Of those voters, an estimated 10% are African American. (Poll numbers range from 8% to 12%.) In 2016, 6% of all Trump voters were Black. Incredible that in 2020, the president most associated with White supremacy and unapologetically vocal on where his allegiances and biases stood raised his African American numbers. While the percentage of Black women who backed Trump remained in the single digits, it’s still concerning that it doubled from 4% in 2016.

Voting for Donald Trump while Black is a race crime. Black-on-Black crime, in fact.

The high-wattage shocker is that Trump’s largest Black support comes from men. Four years ago, 13% of all male African American voters chose Trump as their leader. In 2020, an estimated 18% desired another four years of his regime. That is as deflating as it is infuriating. Voting for Donald Trump while Black is a race crime. Black-on-Black crime, in fact.

These are the same impaired African Americans who proclaim that Trump has done more for Black people than any U.S. president since Abraham Lincoln. (Let’s be clear: Any Black person who paints Lincoln as an abolitionist or civil rights leader is not on the side of abolitionists and civil rights leaders.) Trump called for a nationwide implementation of former New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s racist “stop and frisk” policy. In 2020, Trump won the states with the largest Ku Klux Klan presence.

The dumb breathed oxygen into the pathological liar who is their president. He was allowed to mask himself as a curator of their best interests. He manipulated where they’re most vulnerable: their wallets. My people love shiny shit, and that Platinum Package promised too good to be cubic zirconia. Unbelievable that fully grown humans believed 45 would create a stimulus package dedicated to the prosperity of Black economics. Even if Trump wanted to see Black people excel financially in some alternate universe, one should recall his recent failure to pass through Congress a $500 billion package for pandemic relief. In the United States, Covid-19 absolutely trumps the colored.

The fact is that cash still rules everything around people without it. Those who rarely see money become blinded in its presence. I was a preteen when I first learned that Black men will sacrifice a decade of their freedom for years outside of poverty. It still surprised me how susceptible they were to a mascot for their subordination seizing attribution for a healthier American economy. Read the next sentence slowly: Donald Trump did not make America’s coin great again.

Yes, the economy was approaching record-level expansion and unemployment lows at the top of 2020, but any progress scored on Trump’s watch was residual. Most Americans grade a president’s efficacy as rigidly as the four years allotted to the position. Any good fortune experienced — like, say, a new job — is automatically credited to whichever prez occupied the Oval Office at the time. Professional terms are traditionally immovable, but economies are fluid. A POTUS inherits the good ebb along with the bad flow. The truth is that the ascendance of America’s economy began during Barack Obama’s first term and, fortunately for Trump, peaked during his presidency.

How do you vote for Trump without factoring in the present state of the economy? Today’s unemployment rate is nearly 8% — doubled from when Trump first took office (3.5%). The good news is that it’s now half of its 2020 peak. April saw unemployment climb to 15%—unseen since the Great Depression. The economy’s decimation, however, is not residual. That is a direct effect of Trump’s negligence at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Outside of the almighty dollar, Black Trump supporters were fooled into believing that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were more racist than their president. The Donald’s marketing execution was twofold. First, he reminded the forgetful of his token work — his HBCU contributions and the handful of African American prisoners he pardoned. The legislation for which 45 receives the most praise from minorities is the First Step Act. Because in the United States, a greater percentage of Black people are imprisoned than White, it appears that First Step (similar to the Platinum Package) is designed as some sort of judicial reparations. Yet, anyone could notice that the plan never specifies qualification. Prisoners only benefit by earning in a point system insistent on them meeting various subjective criteria and behavioral expectations — a potential mirage.

The second installment of Trump’s diversion strategy was to shower voters with Biden/Harris slander — both base and baseless — while spotlighting the Black bodies that swing from the résumés of both the former vice president and district attorney. Trump’s transgressions are such fixtures in the daily conversation that Biden’s fingerprints on the infamous 1994 Crime Bill and Harris’ reputation for burying Black men in the Bay faded his dirty work out of focus. Noteworthy that 45’s attack was assisted by Biden’s quotables from past and present. The president-elect is on record refusing to acknowledge any regret for facilitating the Crime Bill, as well as saying, “Poor kids are just as bright as White children.” A specific Trump ad replayed a Breakfast Club interview in which Biden asserted that any Black person confused about whether to vote for him or Trump was, in fact, not Black.

Trump doesn’t possess as many buried bones as his political opposition, because he never had the power. As a citizen, he used his own money to take out ads requesting that Black boys be put to death — innocent boys who, after having their childhood shattered and being exonerated, were denied any empathy from Donald. Can you imagine the decades of carnage had Trump been playing politician since the 1980s?

Donald once bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and folks would still support him. Trump’s reaction and absence when Blacks were shot in the streets during his presidency should illuminate his horns for everyone. Although finger-pointing is his favorite pastime, he refused to place guilt on White supremacists for the Charlottesville hate crimes. He bathed in the fact that the teenager who murdered innocent protesters at a BLM protest in Wisconsin was a fan. Where were the conversations between the U.S. president and the grieving families of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, or Rayshard Brooks? How does sports journalist Cari Champion speak with Jacob Blake’s father before the POTUS does?

Years before Donald Trump’s American stock was distilled down to being the antithesis of the Obama administration, he was an esteemed ambassador for American racism. The real estate tycoon spent thousands in attorney fees to prohibit Black people from residing in his properties. On more than one occasion, he referred to African Americans as “lazy” and African and Caribbean countries depleted by Western colonization as “shitholes.” It was no surprise that as a decided politician, Trump built his entire campaign on Muslim xenophobia and good ol’ boy machismo. After all, his MAGA campaign slogan was a promise that America would return to yesteryears when those devoid of protective pale skin had fewer rights and fruit yet more victimization.

So how does a person of color, after eight years of a Black president, choose the Gerry Cooney of White Supremacy? By being dumb and forgetful.

Bonsu Thompson is a writer, producer, Brooklynite and 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow.

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