By 3/2/16 3:36 PM
Leading African-American talk show host and political commentator Tavis Smiley said that black voters shouldn’t be taken for granted by Hillary Clinton, and that they could defect to Donald Trump in a general election matchup.
“Everyone knows that in this presidential election cycle, conventional wisdom left the building long before the train ever left the station,” Smiley wrote Wednesday in a USA Today op-ed called ‘Black America could get on Trump train.’
For Smiley, it’s not 2008 or 2012, when President Obama was elected, and Democrat Hillary Clinton could lose out to the flashier Trump.
“For starters, charisma, charm and likability aren’t transferable,” Smiley wrote of Clinton. “While the chance to elect the first woman president is indeed tantalizing for many, in black America specifically, it’s not exactly the same as watching an African-American first family taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”
“Indeed, even women haven’t as yet rallied en masse around Hillary the way black folk did around Obama,” Smiley noted.
Smiley, who does not support Trump, thinks it’s an assumption that African-Americans and Hispanics will vote as a bloc after being offended by Trump’s rhetoric on illegal immigration as an attack on all minorities.
“Though it is true that black/brown political coalitions have had strategic successes, it is also true that there have been plenty of other occasions where the interests of black and brown voters didn’t exactly align. In California where I live, Latinos are still smarting from the lack of black voter support in 1994 to help defeat the anti-immigrant Proposition 187,” Smiley wrote.
“I’ve talked privately to some of Trump’s black friends since I read that piece, and to a person, their critique of him is highly nuanced. Men and women from black America’s most privileged class either genuinely like this guy or they’re afraid of being caught in his social media meat grinder,” Smiley continues.