Trump's Detroit Lesson On Privilege And Risk

A black or female presidential candidate with Trump’s history would never make it into a Detroit church to campaign two months before election day.

If Trump were black, his critics would deem him a baby daddy who left his children without a father present in their daily lives.

Trump is attempting to convince Detroit voters that he understands the challenges facing African-Americans. He&nbsp
Trump is attempting to convince Detroit voters that he understands the challenges facing African-Americans. He has demonstrated that he lacks empathy and the capacity to grasp the complexity surrounding race relations in our country.

Last month in Michigan, Donald Trump asked America’s Black voters, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

On Saturday he brought his message to Detroit in an effort to convince Michigan’s largest group of Black voters that he is the solution to their problems. In a scripted interview with Bishop Wayne T. Jackson (Trump received the questions ahead of time), he reached out to minority voters. This well orchestrated campaign move highlights the double standard Trump enjoys in his bid for the White House.

Can you imagine the national conversation if Hillary Clinton had given birth to five children by three different men? 

A Black or female presidential candidate with Trump’s history would never make it into a Detroit church to campaign two months before Election Day. A candidate with even a fraction of Trump’s divisive baggage could only exist if he were white.

Can you imagine the national conversation if Hillary Clinton had given birth to five children by three different men - including an affair leading to pregnancy and a baby born out of wedlock?

How would a church congregation assess Clinton’s presidential fitness if she had broken up her family by acting with callous disregard for her spouse and three young children?  

Candidate Trump continues to take advantage of the built-in advantages that will never exist for Hillary Clinton or any candidate that resembles the Detroit congregation Mr. Trump visited.

As Trump capitalizes on his privilege and pivots to substantive campaign topics, acknowledging the enormous cultural disparity that benefits him rests squarely on the shoulders of American voters.  

Candidate Trump is taking advantage of the built-in advantages that do not exist for Hillary Clinton or any candidate that resembles the Detroit congregation he visited.

As a female candidate, Hillary Clinton has a challenging threshold to meet in order to convince voters she has command of the leadership skills it takes to sit in the Oval Office and still remain likable enough to get elected.

How would voters and the media react if Hillary Clinton had handed over full custody of her young children to ex-spouses while simultaneously advancing her career ambitions? Would voters admire Clinton’s single-minded drive to achieve personal success? Would we celebrate her stamina and applaud her strength? Maybe, but her character and cracked moral compass as a mother would dominate the conversation.  

Trump certainly faces criticism, but when it comes to political popularity the 70-year old grandfather and self-aggrandizing business tycoon has grown his base despite very serious character flaws. Missteps and baggage that would normally derail a campaign turn out to be mere blemishes for Trump. His candidacy affords him luxuries a minority candidate from either party would never enjoy.

Trump’s tweet, “If Hillary can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?” put his sexism on full display. The mere question of a woman’s ability to satisfy a man is the type of twisted male chauvinism that paralyzes our advancement. Trump has ventured from tasteless to dangerous with his rhetoric.         

Following the RNC Convention, how many news pundits touched on the fact that Donald Trump’s talented children were heart-broken as young kids when his reckless behavior destroyed his family? Do you think a female candidate for president who engaged in an extramarital affair in the public spotlight would benefit from public amnesia and be given the same treatment as Trump? What about a Black candidate for president? Would the media ignore the storyline about a Black baby daddy who selfishly looked out for his own interests leaving his children without a father present in their daily lives?

The obsession over Clinton’s e-mails and President Obama’s religious views would never exist because a woman or Black man with two divorces and a record of infidelity would struggle getting elected to the local school board in this country.

These questions may be difficult to ingest, but they are worth asking. The double-standards in American politics deserve a critical examination.

If the tables were turned, the obsession over Clinton’s e-mails and President Obama’s religious views would never exist because a woman or Black man with two divorces and a record of infidelity would struggle getting elected to the local school board in this country.  

Yet, Donald Trump is the 2016 Republican nominee for president of the United States of America.

This weekend in Detroit, Team Trump attempted to blur the direct link from his bigoted comments to the man himself. Trumps pivot is motivated by the hope voters will be distracted enough to forget the unique brand of populist racism that propelled his rise in the Republican party.

This is not the first time a Black church has been used as a backdrop to advance a political narrative. Remember the outrage when it was discovered Barack Obama worshipped at a Southside Chicago church led by the fiery Black pastor Jeremiah Wright? Media scrutiny and questions about then-Senator Obama’s loyalty to the nation became a topic of conversation in this country. Obama was facing criticism not for his own actions, but for an association to someone that expressed controversial opinions.

Can you imagine if President Obama became a Christian convert just prior to his presidential run? His campaign would have ended before the Baptismal water dried from his forehead.

Why aren’t the same critics asking about the sincerity of Trump’s recent conversion to Christianity? Can you imagine if President Obama became a Christian convert just prior to his presidential run? His campaign would have ended before the Baptismal water dried from his forehead.

While Trump’s indiscretions have been reported, they have never really been the story. Trump’s preposterous comments are dismissed as, “Trump being Trump” by his loyal supporters.

No one can reasonably deny that as a Black man Barack Obama would never have gotten away with claiming he is so popular he could shoot someone and not lose support. He would have never been a nominee for president just as Hillary Clinton would not be given the benefit of the doubt if she had two failed marriages and bankruptcy on her record. No way.

In the United States of America only Donald Trump or someone who looks like him could pull this off.

What do African-Americans in Detroit have to lose?

The same thing all of us will lose if we elect Donald Trump president - another four years spent ignoring the insidious nature of sexism and racism in the United States of America.

Graffiti designed to welcome Mr. Trump? 
Graffiti designed to welcome Mr. Trump? 

You can follow Nick Gregory on Twitter @CivicsEngaged. He also has a blog, http://civicsengaged.blogspot.com.