Donald Trump’s name won’t make it on the ballot.
Donald Trump will never win enough delegates to clinch the nomination.
No one in his or her right mind will ever vote Donald Trump into the White House.
The first two statements are incorrect. And the last stands to be proved right or wrong in November. A potential Trump presidency sounds like the greatest Saturday Night Live skit ever conceived; hope the joke’s not on us.
By the end of August, The New York Times reported Trump garnering only 1 percent of the Black vote. As cited in the same article, “When a Republican collapses into single digits among African-Americans and struggles with other minorities, it reduces the number of White votes a Democrat needs to win the presidency.” It’s easy to dismiss Trump, yet somehow he’s made it this far. If Trump is all but guaranteed a loss, why concern ourselves with the nominal possibility of a win?
Well, there are several reasons. Writers Max Ehrenfreund and Jeff Guo’s review of a recent Gallup study show Trump has broader appeal than initially believed. His supporters remain overwhelmingly White and include financially secure adults worried about the future of their community’s children. This community-first approach to voting could shift Trump’s chances from impossible to improbable. With polls touting Hillary as a shoo-in, those voting simply to prevent a Trump win may deem it unnecessary.
The slightest probability of a Trump win has me wondering, practically speaking, what it would mean for America—especially Black America—if he were to become the next president. I’ve explored the potential impact of a Trump presidency on three key issues: police reform, the economy and education.
Police Reform: It’s unclear whether Trump understands or even cares that a problem exists. He erroneously believes “giving [police] more authority” will keep citizens safe. In a 2015 Guardian interview, he did not support making police-worn body cameras a federal mandate but did say “there could be” federal funding for local agencies who wanted the technology but couldn’t afford it. With dismissive statements such as “There’ll be a bad apple” and “There’ll be a bad thing that happens,” he fails to recognize the systemic flaws that enable (and excuse) the unjust killings of Black citizens.
The Economy: Trump has made several changes to his economic plan since launching his campaign. His latest version is perhaps the most detailed of his platform plans. According to NPR and CNN, the “how” of his “make America grow again” agenda includes a number of personal and business tax reforms:
Reduce the number of income tax brackets from seven to four. The current tax bracket rates range from 10 percent to 39.6 percent. Under Trump’s proposed changes, the poorest Americans will have a zero tax rate, and the rate for the most affluent Americans would cap at 33 percent. A change in personal tax rates seems beneficial, but experts believe rich Americans stand to benefit most: The top 1 percent would see their after-tax incomes grow by 5.3 percent with Trump’s plan, while people below the 80th percentile would see little change, with their incomes growing by less than 1 percent.
Allow families to deduct the average cost of child care from their taxes. This is yet another plan where higher earners reap the rewards. For lower-income households to benefit, Trump will allow them to exclude childcare expenses from their payroll taxes.
Lower the corporation and small business tax rate from 39 percent to 15 percent. This is profitable for larger corporations rather than for the estimated 1.3 million small businesses. Business writer Jeff Spross reports that a third of small businesses are too poor to get a dime of help from Trump’s 15-percent tax cap.
Education: Statistics highlighting the disparities in education for Black students go beyond numbers for me. They are names. They are faces.
It’s true that the current school system is failing our students, but Trump’s solutions amount to sound bites without merit: “I’m totally against Common Core,” “Cut the Department of Education way, way, way down,” “Education has to be local.”
Trump shows no willingness to invest the time or resources to find comprehensive solutions for change.
In his most condescending appeal yet, Trump asked what a Black community already plagued by widespread poverty, substandard schools and rampant unemployment had to lose by voting for him. He said that Democratic leadership has driven us to penury, and our only hope for prosperity lies in his hands. But as is true of every great snake oil salesman, what’s promised is never what’s delivered.
M. Michelle Derosier is a Brooklyn, N.Y. writer who pledges allegiance to zero party or candidate. Follow her on Twitter: @mmderosier.
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