Monday, August 15, 2016

GOP 'Suicide Squad'? Good Luck With That

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn in the real 'Suicide Squad'
Did you hear about the Republican's new 'Suicide Squad'?

(No relation to Warner Bros'. release that opened strong and has made $302 million at the US box office despite some brutal reviews)

Is it a sign of a genuine need for outreach to the African-American community?

Or just desperation with 90 days to go before the 2016 presidential elections?

Regardless, as Jason Johnson reported in an article on the on Friday, the Republican party recently hired three additional prominent black political consultants and media strategists to assist their current director of urban affairs and African-American engagement, Telly Lovelace, to try and sell Donald Trump to black voters in critical swing states.

A Herculean effort that at this point might as well be called 'Mission Impossible 2016.'

As reported, heading up that Sisyphean task is Lovelace, a former Congressional staffer who used to work on the staff of Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan.

He was a well-respected conservative media strategist before being hired by the GOP back in April.

Conservative media strategist Telly Lovelace
Notably, his hiring came amidst a slew of high-profile resignations by most of the Republican party's top black and Hispanic strategists and media professionals alienated by Trump's bigotry, the party's willingness to embrace his message of intolerance and willingness to name him as the front runner.

The ability to listen to all points of view underscores the basic freedoms we enjoy in this country.

So no disrespect to Mr. Lovelace, but given his grasp of political strategy and communications, does he really believe blacks are going to vote for Trump in relevant numbers this fall?

If at all?

It's hard for me to grasp why a political party that has used sketchy gerrymandering tactics to achieve numerical majorities in local state legislatures across the nation to actively suppress voter turnout for African-Americans, legal immigrants, students, poor people and the elderly would even have a 'director of urban affairs and African-American engagement.'

During a segment on The Brian Lehrer Show this morning there was a pretty lively discussion on how Trump is being treated by the media with Jamil Smith, senior national correspondent for MTV News.

Despite Trump's almost endless list of offensive Tweets, statements and verbal gaffes (which the media has nothing to do with) I found it interesting that two different white male listeners, and at least one white female listener, called in to not necessarily defend Trump, but to insist that he's not in fact racist - the two guys got pretty heated if you want to click the link above and give the segment a listen.

To me, I detected a sense of defensiveness not for Trump per se, but for the kind of rampant intolerance and overt cultural insensitivity he stands for; to me those listeners seemed to be in a bit of a denial about Trump's well documented racism which started years ago.

Donald and Fred C. Trump in 1990
As the New York Times reported, as the then-president of the Trump Management Corporation back in 1973, a 27-year-old Donald Trump and his father Fred C. Trump were both the targets of a Department of Justice suit brought in federal court.

The suit accused the Trumps of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 with regards to discriminatory rental practices in 39 apartment buildings in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

As The Times article reported:

"The government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals 'because of race and color'. It also charged that the company had charged different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available."

As Gideon Resnick reported last December in a article about the 1973 DOJ investigation, a former Trump Management super named Thomas Miranda testified that his superiors instructed him to attach a separate piece of paper with the letter "C" written on it to any applications received from prospective African-American renters - the "C" stood for 'colored' and was intended to notify leasing agents of all black applicants.

Miranda, a Puerto Rican, also testified that he lied and told his employers that he was from South America as he felt the Trumps "did not want Puerto Ricans living or working in the building."

Last year the UK's reported that Fred C. Trump was listed in a newspaper as having been one of 1,000 members of the KKK arrested in a New York street brawl in 1927 targeted against 'Roman Catholics', 100 NYPD cops slugged it out with the Klansmen and Fred C. Trump's name and correct address were listed in the article as having been arrested.

3 of the exonerated Central Park defendants in 2014
Donald Trump's repugnant views on blacks, Hispanics, immigrants and Muslims were clearly inherited from his father from an early age, and eventually seeped into his own business practices and personal politics.

As evidenced by his shameless pandering to views once regarded as the purview of dangerous fringe white supremacists, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

In the wake of the notorious Central Park jogger case in 1989, Trump took out a full-page article against the five minority defendants.

A letter which enflamed public opinion; they were all later exonerated of the horrific beating and rape after DNA evidence showed Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer, had committed the crime for which he also confessed - Trump refused to apologize even though his letter helped to stoke the media hysteria surrounding the case.

Trump was one of the early high-profile cheerleaders of the Birther movement that accused President Obama of not being an American - again, he refused to apologize even after Obama produced the long-form copy of his Hawaii birth certificate.

So the Republican candidate for president has a long and well-documented track record of bigotry and racism; and a Republican 'Suicide Squad' of black media experts and political strategists isn't going to change that fact.

Frankly if the Republican party were even halfway serious about 'African-American engagement', they never would have allowed Trump to be nominated as their presidential candidate in the first place.

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