Donald Trump's outreach to black voters was predictably met with unbridled, laughably over-the-top scorn and derision from Democrats and their media allies – media allies who at this point are so blatantly unfair that one might think they would no longer even have the audacity to object to being mocked as Clinton shills.
Gripped by fear that Donald Trump's efforts might peel black votes from Democrats in key battleground states, the Clinton campaign has embraced the lowest brand of gutter politics: tying Donald Trump to the KKK and other white supremacist groups. While slandering Republicans as racists has been a favorite tactic of the left for decades, the offensive against Trump is abhorrent even by the left's low standards.
Setting aside the fact that unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has direct, personal ties to a former powerful KKK grand wizard, the left's line of attack against Trump is the most desperate counteroffensive since the Wehrmacht's ill-fated Battle of the Bulge gambit in the waning months of World War II.
And yet it's perfectly rational.
The centerpiece of the left's critique of Trump's speeches targeting black voters is that Trump's arguments are "condescending" to black Americans. Why condescending? Because Trump has been emphasizing the disproportionately high unemployment, poverty, and crime rates in predominantly black neighborhoods. Deliberately amplifying the most provocative snippets from Trump's substantive speeches, such as the "what the hell do you have to lose [by voting for Trump]" line, the left is incredibly claiming that citing poverty statistics is tantamount to talking down to black Americans, most of whom don't live in poverty.
It's true that most blacks don't live in poverty, and millions of blacks are successful, patriotic, hardworking, productive members of society. There are black business executives, entrepreneurs, movie stars, music legends, sports icons, writers, artists, and so on. Also, the president of the United States happens to be black.
But that reality hasn't stopped the left from arguing that blacks are systematically oppressed. Indeed, the alleged plight of black Americans has been a central theme of the left for decades, becoming increasingly prevalent over the last several years as radical fringe terms such as "white privilege" have been mainstreamed.
In a stroke of audacious hypocrisy, leftists, who routinely highlight every statistic showcasing socioeconomic disparities between whites and blacks, are now hammering Trump for doing exactly the same thing. In fact, many of the left's foremost intellectuals – including neo-Marxists Ta-Nehisi Coates and Cornel West – go much farther than Trump, arguing that black Americans are permanently doomed to second-class status in a capitalist society.
There is one key difference between Trump's and the left's messages vis-à-vis the state of black Americans. Whereas the left shamelessly and dishonestly blames so-called white privilege and fictitious institutional racism for the disproportionately high poverty and unemployment rates among blacks, Donald Trump is instead arguing that left-wing policies are at the root of the socioeconomic disparities.
As difficult as it is to establish a cause-and-effect relationship in the public policy realm – the number of dynamic variables affecting socioeconomic conditions reminds us that political "science" is actually more of an art – it happens to be a hard, inescapable fact that left-wing policies governing majority-minority communities have failed spectacularly to achieve their desired ends. No one disputes this – not even Ta-Nehisi Coates. And this is a fact unwittingly confirmed by liberals, who, when they're not ridiculing Donald Trump for his condescending rhetoric, bemoan the high poverty and unemployment rates among black Americans. In doing so, are they not in fact indirectly acknowledging the failure of their own agenda?
Given the undeniable track record of failure, is it not reasonable to think that a certain percentage of black voters will be open to changing course? Even if black voters harbor doubts about a Republican Party viciously maligned by its political foes, is it not reasonable to think some will tune out the demagoguery and be open to a new way? This is the nightmare that keeps Democrats up at night.
There is another fascinating storyline in Trump's black outreach: the so-called racial dog whistle that Republicans and conservatives allegedly emit in every election cycle has been effectively silenced.
You know the perverse charge: a perfectly innocuous comment made by a Republican that has nothing to do with race is deemed a covert message to racists. For example, MSNBC's Chris Matthews in all seriousness claimed that presidential candidate Mitt Romney's use of the word "Chicago" is racist code.
The examples of leftists hearing dog whistles are infinite, and the absurdity of the charge is belied by the implausible notion that the "racist" vote is an all-important bloc that can swing an election in a Republican's favor. More likely, liberals are lying when they claim that Republicans are using racist dog whistles that ironically only liberals can hear. But what makes Donald Trump's pitch to black Americans so perfectly devastating to the dog-whistle conspiracy theory is that asking black Americans for their vote and promising a better life for the black community are irreconcilable with the alleged goal of coveting the racist voting bloc by means of racist dog whistles.
Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate to do what conservatives have been exhorting Republicans to do for years: he is making the woeful track record of left-wing policies in majority-minority neighborhoods a major national issue. He is forcefully presenting the case that every predominately black neighborhood is run at every level of government – local, state, and federal – by liberal Democrats. He is pointing to the Democrats' fanatical opposition to school choice and other public school reform initiatives, shared by one of their most vital allies, the teachers unions, as evidence that the left's agenda is hurting black Americans.
Given the volumes of evidence, Democrats are understandably terrified that a statistically significant number of black American voters will reconsider their allegiance to Democrats and give Republicans a chance. And given the long-term implications of this possible demographic electoral shift – including the collapse of the Democrats' race-based coalition – is it any wonder that Democrats and their media allies are counterattacking Trump in unhinged ways that redefine negative political campaigning?
Eugene Slaven is a freelance writer and the author of the comedy thriller A Life of Misery and Triumph. Follow Eugene on Twitter @eslaven or connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.