Dr. Karlos K. Hill, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
On Election Day 2016, the U.S. electorate had an opportunity to make a united stand against Donald Trump’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic politics. We did not and we should all be ashamed and afraid. Most especially, I am disappointed in the 8 percent of black voters who supported Trump. How could you? Were you not deeply offended by Trump's racist diatribes and “you don’t have anything to lose” rhetoric. I guess not. I am disappointed in the roughly 30 percent of Latino voters who supported Trump. All I can say about that is, WTF! I am disappointed in the white women who voted for Trump. Apparently, sexism and misogyny don’t matter. I am disappointed in white men who looked the other way and pretended that Trump’s language and behavior was no better or worse than what you hear in the average locker room. When all the votes were tallied on election day, it revealed that large swaths of this country enthusiastically supported a person who not only embodies reactionary politics but is now poised to enact them into law.
For Trump voters who felt angry, unheard and dismissed, they feel vindicated today. Through Trump’s candidacy, they successfully plumbed their noses at everything they think matters to the establishment, the elite, and multicultural America. Politics aside, they have asserted in a loud voice that they care nothing about civility and decency. We know this to be true because the more vigorously Donald Trump was chastised for his comments and behavior regarding women, immigrants, minorities, and disabled people, the more loyal his supporters became. Not only does Trump's election dismantle the last vestiges of political decorum, it also represents the height of white privilege and hypocrisy. Constantly, his supporters argued that he didn’t really mean what he said or he was being misunderstood. We were constantly told it was the biased media who contorted his words. Would the same benefit of the doubt been extended to a minority presidential candidate? Was the same benefit of the doubt ever extended to President Obama. Absolutely not!
Trump’s white working class voters are smiling now and they better savor it, because Donald Trump is not going to make their lives any better and in fact will probably only make their lives worse. To be sure, everyone is going to suffer due to a Trump presidency but most especially his loyal supporters who believe that his presidency will bring them jobs and prosperity. And so in the final analysis, America got the president it deserved and it will get what it deserves with a Trump presidency. Let’s hope for all of our sakes that the forces opposed to Trumpism can stymie the worst that is to come.