11 Oct Racial Issues Shape Presidential Contest
By Bob Wing
The heated presidential contest presents a stark choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. A Trump victory might drastically alter race relations and the U.S. as a whole for decades to come.
Until the recent Trump lewd video, racial issues dominated the campaign. This is due mainly to Trump’s polarizing promises to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the country and strengthen police authority in communities of color.
Less publicized is Clinton’s opposition to what she calls “systemic racism” and “implicit bias.”
She opposes “stop and frisk,” calls for anti-racist criminal justice and police reform, argues for a path to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants and supports a $15 per hour federal minimum wage.
Public opinion polls show that African American, Latino, Asian and Muslim voters overwhelmingly support Clinton. And that somewhere between 62% and 66% of white voters, especially white men, support Trump.
Overall, the election is currently in a dead heat. The outcome may well be decided by the size of the turnout of voters of color and the choices of the many white women voters who seem to be undecided.
Trump began his political career as a “birther.” For years he incorrectly asserted that President Barack Obama was not born in America and denounced his presidency as illegitimate.
Trump is unfazed by evidence of racial profiling or police misconduct and instead wants to greatly strengthen the authority of the police to “restore law and order.”
He supports “stop and frisk” policing made famous in New York City but also used in other police departments. In 2013 a judge ruled that this policy was racially discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Trump said that “Mexicans are rapists and murderers.” He proposes to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep Mexicans out of the U.S. and to deport 11 million undocumented Latinos now residing here.
Such a massive deportation effort would likely involve widespread racial profiling of Latinos and possibly the mobilization of the Army to carry out such a massive operation. Trump also promises to ban all Muslims from immigrating to the U.S.
Perhaps that is why Latinos, Asians, and Muslims are registering to vote and trending for Clinton in unusual numbers. The polls show that more than 95% of Black voters oppose Trump.
Yet Trump’s blunt racial positions have also mobilized a massive base of mostly white men to support him. By contrast many Republican white women are undecided, or entirely put off by Trump’s angry racial and gender rhetoric.
Trump would need to win an unprecedented percentage of the white vote to triumph in November, likely about 65%.
Voters of color were largely responsible for Clinton’s victory over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and previously voted heavily for Bill Clinton. She also has a strong base among progressive women that her campaign is trying to build upon.
The contest will likely be decided by a thin margin. Community Coalition is a non-profit organization prohibited from endorsing any candidate. But we urge everyone to make their voices and votes count.