My headline is a riff on The Huffington Post, who think Ta-Nehisi Coates said something profound. When you look at what he said a little more carefully, it’s easy to see how ridiculous it is.
Here is what Coates said during an appearance on The Daily Show:
If I have to jump six feet to get the same thing that you have to jump two feet for ― that’s how racism works.
To be president, [Obama] had to be scholarly, intelligent, president of the Harvard Law Review, the product of some of our greatest educational institutions, capable of talking to two different worlds … Donald Trump had to be rich and white. That was it. That’s the difference.
There are two reasons this explanation doesn’t pass the sniff test:
- Donald Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton is white.
- To believe Coates means having to ignore the results of the 2012 election.
Unless I missed something, Hillary Clinton is just as white as Donald Trump. To attribute his win, even in part, to racism makes little sense, especially when one considers Trump did better with minority voters than Mitt Romney in 2012. Perhaps Mr. Coates would like to pontificate about the “obvious” sexism of some minority voters who chose Trump over Clinton.
When examining Coates silly theory in the context of the 2012 election, it doesn’t hold up. Mitt Romney, by almost every measure, was a more accomplished person than Barack Obama was in 2008 when he ran for President.
Romney received his BA from Brigham Young University and a joint JD-MBA from Harvard University. He was the CEO of Bain & Company, rescuing it from financial trouble. He founded the spin-off company, Bain Capital, which went on to become one of the largest private equity firms in the United States. In 1999, Romney was hired as the CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002. When he took over, the organization was $379 million short of the revenues needed for its goals. Not only did Romney cover the shortfall, under his leadership, the committee also ended up with a $100 million surplus. In 2002, Romney was elected to be the Governor of Massachusetts. Romney had that resume in addition to being white and being very rich.
Romney still lost in 2012 to Barack Obama.
The left’s reliance on identity politics directly contributes to people like Coates reaching such absurd conclusions. Bernie Sanders nearly upended the Clinton campaign (and might have been successful if not for meddling by the DNC) with themes similar to that of Donald Trump. How does Coates explain Sanders upstart campaign? Racism?
There is nothing wrong with exhibiting surprise Donald Trump won. But attempting to explain away his electoral success with the accusation of racism is just stupid.