By Wayne Dawkins
Special to the AFRO
Pardon. Need to interrupt the partying now that Joe Biden is the 46th president-elect, and the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. soon needs to carry his a**, as one of my wiseacre colleagues loves to say.
But seriously, I need to whisper offstage to a cohort of Black men, the 12% to 18% who pulled the lever again for the autocratic, misogynist, racist incumbent.
What’s your strategy now that old-man Biden will be Commander-in-Chief, and sistah girl Kamala Harris will be the history-making vice president-elect?
Need to know. I get it that no political party owns individuals’ votes, notably Democrats who traditionally rely on 90%-plus Black voter support.
However, from what I’ve researched and observed anecdotally, enough Black males pulled levers for Trump, in some cases twice, because No. 45 was perceived as rich and successful and there were brothers who wanted some of that bank.
Desmond Grant, a Houston trucking company owner, told writer David J. Dent last spring, “Trump does know how to make money. He’s not an honest man and he’s not too bright, but he don’t give a [expletive]. You know what I’m saying.
“He’s not the most well-spoken, but he stands his ground, and that’s part of being a man. He can do that very well.”
Meanwhile, there was the college-age Black male quoted in my student’s Oct. 8 Afro-American story. He “shaded” many people’s enthusiasm for Harris’ quest for a seat in the White House. She was uninspiring and inauthentic, claimed the student of the rare Afro-Asian district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator, and now, heartbeat away from the presidency.
I want to hear the game plan for the double-digit percentage of Black men who danced with the Trump party. They included Kanye West, who was on the ballot in a dozen states as a presidential candidate, a ploy to siphon votes in order to help Trump win. And there were the clownish embraces of Trump and his gimmicks by celebrities Ice Cube, 50-Cent and Lil Wayne.
This week a former HBCU student of mine who is now doing postgraduate studies at Harvard reminded me that 90s-era hip hop artists famously praised Trump’s audacity from their mics. The young colleague also nodded at my belief that the male trio above this season performed like buffoonish extras in Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled.”
Meanwhile however, Black women, resiliently, were holding it down politically.
Red state Georgia flipped its support to Biden/Harris and the Democrats. Immediately on social media, fans pointed to Stacey Abrams, the Spelman “girl” who ran for governor in 2018 and barely lost a truly rigged election. I say that because the Republican candidate and winner did not recuse himself from his role as the person in charge of the election. I’m serious.
Abrams, an effective Georgia state legislator, did not fold her tent after defeat and disappear. She continued to battle voter suppression schemes and she registered votes, many of them Black and Brown. And when Biden/Harris appeared to be just another Democratic presidential duo snubbed by Georgians, the votes showed up big.
Abrams is just one standout piece of the sistah vote the 94% of black women who have been loyal, focused Democratic Party supporters. In addition to Abrams, another standout is Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders. She outmaneuvered Trump strategists and helped bring Biden/Harris over the finish line.
So, what will a significant percentage of black men do after betting on the wrong candidate? Is this soon-to-be Trump-less GOP going to welcome them to their party? Just wondering.
The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.