Donald Trump has spent the last month executing a questionable outreach strategy to African-Americans voters. From a Black church in Detroit to a town hall meeting in Ohio, he has on more than one occasion made a direct appeal to Black voters. Most pundits agree that his clumsy and insulting speeches have been designed to convince suburban white voters that he is not a racist or a bigot rather than a committed effort to sway African-American voters. To the extent that any suburban voters were persuaded by this pernicious approach, Trump’s pronouncement that he would reinstate stop and frisk policies if elected should end any doubts about his commitment to African-American voters and give suburban voters all the evidence they need to reject his candidacy. Racist or out of touch billionaire, either make Trump unfit for the White House.
There are no three words scarier to African-Americans and Latino males then “stop and frisk.” The controversial policy instituted by the New York Police Department in 1999 allowed law enforcement to stop any civilian on the street and search their person and belongings. The practice is “allegedly based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.” Over an 11 year period, of the 5 million people stopped by New York police officers, 25% were African-American males, although they were only approximately 15% of the population.
In August of 2013, in a landmark case, a Manhattan Federal District Court Judge ruled stop-and-frisk was ineffective and unconstitutional. Specifically, the judge ruled that the policy breached a person’s constitutional rights on two counts: it violated individuals Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and the practices were racially discriminatory in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Subsequently, the NYPD was forced to amend its “policies and training regarding stop and frisk and racial profiling” in accordance with the constitution. This illegal policy is the cornerstone of Trump’s solution to Black on Black crime and what he describes as a national crime crises. Rather than focus on the underlying causes of crime in urban neighborhoods– poverty, failing schools, and a lack of living wage jobs–Trump has openly stated that he would implement a policy that results in racial profiling. There are no circumstances or set of facts in which you can justify a candidate advocating open and state sanctioned discrimination against Black men. That’s racism. Plain and simple.
We can debate at nausea whether this makes him a racist, a candidate ignorant of prevailing federal case law, an out of touch billionaire that is tone death to issues that impact African-Americans and other minorities, or simply a reality star that has no business in the White House. But in the end, there is only one logical conclusion that can be deduced: Black and White voters must defeat Trump.