Trump Pitches White Underclass

July 22, 2016 2 By Michael
2016 Delegates to the RNC were not the typical Republicans. This year's delegates were more grassroot Americans. Photo Credits: Win McNamee/Getty Images

2016 Delegates to the RNC were not the typical Republicans. This year’s delegates were mostly members of the white underclass.
Photo Credits: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump made a pitch to the white underclass to come out in large numbers in November to elect him President of the United States of America. During his acceptance speech at the National Republican Convention, Trump spoke directly to the white underclass in American society. He told them that he was their “voice.”

Many delegates to this year’s Republican Convention represented the white underclass and not the upper crust that has dominated previous Republican conventions. The well-bred stayed home, under the delusion that Trump had hijacked their party. It was this group of Republicans, watching the coronation of Donald Trump from home, to whom Ted Cruz had spoken on the third night of the convention.

But Trump realized he was standing on center stage as the Grand Old Party standard bearer because nearly 14 million white Americans voted for him; many who had not participated in politic before 2016. No Republican candidate for its party’s nomination has ever polled as many votes in the primary process; not Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush or Mitt Romney.

Trump’s pitch to this segment of white Americans is based on their fear that Black lives have mattered too much in recent years to the detriment of this white underclass. This group of less affluent whites fear the rising tide of Black people in the wake of the Obama presidency. Trump skillfully tugged at the worst fears of this sub-group of white people by proclaiming early in his acceptance speech: “In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate.”

“I’m your voice,” he told this group of Americans who feel like no one in Washington has paid any attention to their rights as white Americans.

“On January 20, 2017, safety will be restored,” he told them.

“Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims,” he said.

To Black Americans, these are code words for a quick uptick in repressive policing, probably before sundown on January 20, 2017.

Trump did what he had to do at the Republican convention. He gave millions of white Americans hope that the trend toward a more inclusive union championed by President Barack Obama, could come to a squeaking halt in November. It remains to be seen if Black Lives Matter Americans will feel the need to turn out in large numbers to keep marching toward a more perfect union.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.