November 2016.

Even after Obama, does race still determine America's choice of President?

1 answer

It comes down to this. A bunch of people woke up one day and saw that America had elected a black president. Maybe they were asleep, maybe they were distracted, but they woke up, America had a black president, and they didn’t know how this happened. And a lot of those people have now made the correction to what they saw as a mistake.

So race is as pertinent a factor now as it was the day Obama got elected. We can’t ignore the fact that we’ve had these real high-profile incidents where police have killed African-Americans during Obama’s presidency – it’s not, to me, lost that this happened during the reign of the first black president. A lot of people don’t want to admit it, but what animated a lot of Trump supporters was racism.

You can tell yourself it's not racism, it’s economic anxiety. I’m sorry: the people who voted for Trump in droves have never used the phrase ‘economic anxiety’ in their life. The people who were shown at those rallies chanting ‘Jew-S-A’, ‘Kill the bitch’. . . these people embraced racism, sexism and homophobia, and they don’t want to feel bad about it. They want to do it and feel proud to be Americans in doing so. Trump gave them that opportunity.

I know a lot of people don’t like it when you criticise his supporters. People were angry at Hillary Clinton when she called them ‘a basket of deplorables’. They are deplorable, and they hold deplorable ideas, and Trump appealed to this. And it is especially pronounced in the era following the nation’s first black president. It’s not a coincidence, at all.