By Femi Olugbile
To go by what is reported in the newspapers, things are looking decidedly bleak for President Donald Trump in his battle for reelection. With elections barely four months away, he is behind his major opponent by a significant percentage figure.
Is the case against Donald Trump’s reelection a ‘slam-dunk’, to borrow Colin Powell’s much-reviled phrase from his Iran War testimony before the United Nations?
Viewing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations that have spread from the streets of the United States to places as far away as Japan and Australia, and given the multi-racial demonstration of support, it is clear that many in the world believe it is time for Change in America. A key part of that change is that Mr Trump should be shown the way out of the White House. In the eyes of all too many, he is racist, divisive, lacking in empathy and totally unsuitable for the position.
And yet, unpleasant as it may sound to many ears, the reality is that Donald Trump could conceivably still somehow manage to win the election and remain President of America for four more years.
Another reality is that a not inconsiderable number of his staunchest supporters are people of African descent. Black Trumpians?
Who are the black Trumpians? There is a minority tradition of Black Republicanism in America that stretches back to the philosophy of Booker T Washington. It focusses on patriotism, capitalism and social conservatism. It emphasizes personal choice and responsibility above socioeconomic status and institutional racism as determinants of how a black person gets along in America. It opposes affirmative action and sees efforts to obtain reparations for slavery as misguided. It believes in promotion of personal and professional excellence and opposes the use of ‘racism’ to justify personal failure. It does not support ‘criminals’ being cast as victims of societal racism. It points out that the Ku Klux Klan was founded by ‘Democrats’, and that President Lincoln was a Republican.
One of Donald Trump’s most visible, most vocal, and most persuasive black supporters is a brilliant young lady named Candace Owens. A few quotes are instructive on her psychology.
‘…Black Lives Matter is a Marxist movement disguised as racial unrest. These thugs are delivering ultimatums to businesses and schools. Do as we say, or burn…I’m glad that now that Trump has laid down the law and order hammer on the anarchists, we are back to our regular schedule of #coronavirus scamdemic…’
Clearly, according to Candace, Black Lives Matter is a ‘leftist’ insurrection, not a cry for justice by her fellow blacks, supported now by much of the rest of the world. And COVID19 is not a pandemic ravaging the world and showing up the incompetence of the American administration. It is a ‘scamdemic’.
There is an ‘alternative reality’ at play here.
Candace Owens, predictably, is much loathed in the black community, just as she is much quoted and celebrated by the Trump base. Bizarrely she had worked for an anti-Conservative blog that frequently attacked Donald Trump, before she underwent a sudden ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion in 2017. Almost overnight, she became a staunch Republican and pro-Trump activist. She has not looked back since.
She touches another ‘politically incorrect’ topic underpinning her position. Western Europe will soon be overwhelmed by an insidious Islamic numerical and cultural onslaught, she says. On that day, they will be glad there is a Trump today to hold the fort against immigration in America, and to rescue the West.
Kanye West is a billionaire rapper, songwriter and record producer who has created a popular fashion line. He is an avid conservative and an unabashed Trump friend and supporter. His most famous recent quote was to describe Slavery, the horrendous four-hundred-year journey black America is still struggling to get closure on as a ‘Choice’. It was a comment that rankled and touched every raw nerve in the African American psyche. It succinctly summarized his attitude to poverty, crime, ‘victim-hood’, entitlement and hopelessness among his fellow blacks. He wants nothing of these, obviously, and he proudly flaunts his white wife and his Trumpian ‘MAGA’ cap.
There are black Pentecostal pastors whose Trumpian allegiance is rooted in support for Israel, disdain for liberalized abortion and the mainstreaming of LGBTQ as a way of life, and unapologetic defence for a biblical definition of ‘family’.
In the Vatican, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah is a notable conservative. Although he has been silent after co-authoring, with retired Pope Benedict XVI, a doctrinal book on the need to continue strict priestly celibacy, his friend, Italian Cardinal Carlo Vigano recently wrote an open letter of support to Trump denouncing ‘Black Lives Matter’, the George Floyd protests and COVID19 as part of a Masonic plot for global government without Religion, and a satanic battle between ‘the children of light’ and ‘the children of darkness’. Black protesters, are, to him, ‘children of darkness’.
In Nigeria, there are pockets of Trumpian support. Doyin, a former presidential spokesman, supports Trump because he believes he has a Christian mission to fulfil, despite his inadequacies.
Femi, a vociferous public pugilist, supports Trump because he is a bulwark against the ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria.
Chris, a charismatic pastor preaches a mélange of conspiracy theories originated by the Qanon and other ‘alt-right’ groups in the Trump base, including how COVID19 is related to 5G technology, and how social distancing is an assault on Christianity. His latest outpouring is that ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a satanic ploy to disband the police in America, so that electronic chips may be fitted into citizens.
In the South-East, and in pockets across the world, IPOB support for Trump has been long-standing, from the Nigerian Presidential election where they assured their supporters, wrongly, that the man would not recognize Buhari as President, to the present day, where Trump is marketed as the defender of their endangered species.
How much weight will black Trumpians pull in the November elections?
- It is interesting to ponder the possibilities.