Driven by racism, hate, bigotry, fear, xenophobia, misogyny, and an astounding level of ignorance, just over sixty million Americans elected Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States. However, close to sixty million and four hundred thousand voted for Hillary Clinton. The hate mongering coalition did not form the majority. For the second time in modern political voting, the new President will not have won a majority of the popular vote. Al Gore received more votes than George W. Bush in 2000. Hillary Clinton received more votes than Donald Trump in the more recent 2016 presidential contest. Our system of government is not a democracy. This is nothing new. We have a republic that was designed to quell democratic pressures by allowing the minority to place a check on the majority. At the writing of the Constitution, wealthy White men designed a system to protect their interests and status in this new political system. The Electoral College is but one of the several anti-majoritarian devices placed in the Constitution that were designed to place a check on democratic tendencies. To talk about reforming the system after 2000 and 2016 is a complicated venture. With the election of two “fortunate sons” in 2000 and 2016, it is obvious that the system worked exactly how the “Framers” of the Constitution intended. Yet, during Reconstruction after enslavement and the Second Reconstruction of the 1960s, loopholes were found that enabled Black Americans to achieve modest advancements. Women have been able to achieve modest advancements as well. We also must not forget that a Black man was elected President with this same system. Rev. Jesse Jackson foresaw such a possibility with his presidential campaigns of 1984 and 1988. In all possibility, the Electoral College may not be the problem.
Many young White people, Muslims, Latinos, African Americans, women, and Asians awoke Wednesday morning November 9, 2016 only to realize that their worst nightmare had actually come true. Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th President of the United States. The irony is not lost. Donald Trump came to political prominence with his racist “birther” attack on President Barack Obama. As time passes, their portraits will forever hang together in the annals of presidential history. Nevertheless, for this talk of “Make America Great Again,” America ceased to be a great nation on the day Donald Trump was elected President. America will fall further from grace on the day he is sworn in as the 45th President. Weak and shallow minded news commentators claim that “white working class anger” over jobs carried the day for Trump. I am inclined to agree with the interpretation of Trump’s campaign slogan which is “Make America White Again.” The problem with this is that America has never been an all-White nation. Therefore, the slogan can only mean bring back African enslavement, Jim Crow, and the Dred Scott Decision which stated that “Black people had no rights that any White person is bound to respect.”
There was a great deal of talk about White working class anger over the loss of jobs. The Black unemployment rate usually doubles the employment rate of Whites in America society. In the area of the country where I reside, Erie County, Black unemployment in the city of Buffalo is worse than White unemployment in the surrounding suburbs. Yet, the surrounding suburbs voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. Some Trump supporters have actually referred to themselves as the “Silent Majority.” I find it amazing that 2016 White voters are so eager to adopt a racist Nixonian slogan for the late 1960s and early 1970s. Early in Trump’s campaign, he extolled the values of the “Silent Majority.” Many Trump supporters were ashamed to let people know they were voting for such a bigoted candidate. Why do you think members of the Ku Klux Klan wore masks?
Many Trump supporters were hiding behind the mask of being angry because of lost jobs. What about Black anger? What about Latino anger? What about Muslim anger? What about Asian anger? What about young people anger over the costs of college? What about women anger over issues that effect in ways that men can never imagine? Is the only legitimate anger in America the anger of the white working class? Are members of the White working class being slaughtered in the streets of America by an insidious racism that hides behind the mask of a badge and blue uniform?
Election results make it clear that the Obama Coalition did not materialize for Hillary Clinton in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, or Ohio. If it had, I would be writing about the hope of a Hillary Clinton presidency rather than the dystrophic horizon which the prospect of Trump presidency offers. Nevertheless, do not be dismayed. Remember what Barack Obama said. “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” I can only add that we are not the minority. We are the majority and we are not silent!
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”