Last year, I took a seminar with Michael Steele, the former Republican National Party Chairman and former lieutenant governor of Maryland. In class, we studied the 2016 Election at length. Hopefully, this could provide some context on the politics and riots we see today.
Madness is a commodity because it remains unpredictable. It is injected into the political brain and people like it.
The 2016 Election
Donald Trump is symbiotic with Hillary Clinton
Trump is the least popular candidate in history while Clinton is the second least popular candidate. Trump has a clear message “Make America Great” while Clinton didn’t define who she was and why she was running. Eventually, Trump turned Clinton’s message “I’m with her” into “I’m with you (the voters.)”
1) Messy Campaigns
While Trump doesn’t have a central campaign, seasoned Clinton ran a bad campaign. She didn’t show up in many states. Moreover, people don’t feel that Clinton is authentic.
2) Consistent Stance
Trump is consistent, firm, and resolute. While there isn’t a direct conversation on the Supreme Court, Republicans figured out that Trump would keep this bargain for the enthusiastic Republican base.
3) Fresh Face
Clinton’s long White House history made people think of her as the third term of Obama. On the other hand, Trump appeals to the white people who are fearful of losing their identity after eight years of Obama in the White house.
4) Mobilized Base
Obama won the election because he expanded his base by inspiring students and young people to Hope & Change. Trump tapped into the public psyche and became white men’s champion in thirty years. He made people feel heard. While I can’t completely understand why a single white woman with 2 children in New Hampshire would look at Trump and say “he looks just like me,” that’s the power of a master manipulator.
Where are we today?
After seeing how the 2016 election came to shape America, it’s time to face the society and right the wrongs.
Systematic racism at large
As depicted by Jordan Peele’s Get Out, we are still in “the sunken place.”Even though we have elected President Obama, racism is still prevalent. Now you may wonder why people who elected the first African American president also elected the most racist president to date, Malcolm Gladwell rationalized the behavior with moral licensing:
“The act of doing something morally good (i.e. having friends from diverse backgrounds) gives us the license to then publicly or unconsciously hold opinions that directly oppose those sentiments.” — Malcolm Gladwell
In Gladwell’s words, “individuals who voted for Obama are now able to do a full 180 and think, ‘hey you know I voted for Obama but it didn’t work out well, and now I might vote for Trump… but I’m not racist’.”
However, we cannot allow systematic racism to penetrate society.
How can we do better
- Learn from African American’s viewpoints: start with Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
- Get educated on how to engage with the communities: here’s a great guide on anti-racism resources for white people.
- Donate to funds and support initiatives: Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block, Northstar Health Collective.
- Make a long-term impact on the Black communities through mentorship, volunteering, and activism.
Black Lives Matter.