The late, great comedian Patrice O’Neal had a joke about black Obama voters being upset with the former president shortly after he took office in his first term because the Obama presidency hadn’t turned out to be Vengeance Day. O’Neal joked that by that point, he, too, had thought he would have white slaves and a big white woman to warm his bed.
The joke was brilliant because it was an exaggerated version of what many black voters believed to be true: If Obama’s base was clearly black voters, then his interests should be aligned with their interests. Many black voters were upset to learn that Barack Obama planned to be the president of the United States and not the president of black America.
Since taking office 100 days ago, President Donald J. Trump has done little to nothing of what he promised to accomplish when he was a candidate. In fact, not only has Trump now denounced the first 100 days as an “artificial benchmark,” but he doesn’t seem to even remember goals that he and his administration promised to achieve in the first 100 days of his presidency. Yet after such a dismal showing, the worst by any president in his first 100 days in office, not only are almost 96 percent of Trump voters pleased with the president thus far, they would vote for him again.
Which leads me to this: If Trump voters weren’t voting for Trump’s racist, xenophobic ideology, who or what were they voting for? In fact, after seeing that he didn’t deliver on any of the promises he made for his first 100 days, what is the attraction about maintaining their vote if not hate?
Many have argued that calling Trump voters racist, all 59 million of them, is ridiculous. In fact, former Washington Post reporter-turned-CNN Editor at Large Chris Cillizza tweeted this exact sentiment shortly after Trump won the election.
But if Trump voters weren’t voting for the man because his racist, xenophobic rhetoric aligned with their personal beliefs, what were they voting for? Trump has arguably had the worst 100-day run of a U.S. president in the last 100 years, and if Trump voters still believe in their president after this poor showing, clearly they aren’t connected to his policy or politics. His candidacy and the subsequent 100 days as president have been mired in scandal and deceit. As a candidate, Trump was swimming in a sea of litigation, from questionable business dealings to allegations of sexual assault.
Since becoming president, the scandals and accusations have only widened. There are rumblings of the Trump administration’s close ties to Russia and Russia’s interference with the 2016 election; the hiring and firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn, which is also smothered in Russia sauce; the failed immigration ban; the perpetual weekends away from the White House; the Tourette’s-like ramblings on Twitter, including claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phone; the mess that is Devin Nunes; ethics and questionable nepotism violations; and the gutter ball that was Trumpcare.
In truth, the list of scandals, lies and failures from this administration’s first 100 days is much longer than anything it’s accomplished, but let’s rewind to when Trump was a candidate and was prone to spouting what he’d accomplish in his first 100 days in office.
Here is Donald Trump’s proposed plan for his first 100 days, straight from his website, a plan that Trump claimed was “a contract” between himself and the “American voter” to “Make America Great Again.” He added that the work required him “restoring honesty, accountability and change to Washington.”
Trump now admits that he doesn’t know what his contract with the American voter said and that the 100-day benchmark isn’t important. During a recent interview with the Associated Press, Trump was asked: “You did put out, though, as a candidate, you put out a 100-day plan. Do you feel like you should be held accountable to that plan?”
“Somebody, yeah, somebody put out the concept of a hundred-day plan,” Trump responded. “But yeah. Well, I’m mostly there on most items. Go over the items, and I’ll talk to you ... ”
To spare you the time and energy wasted in reading a list of unfulfilled promises, I assure you that the plan proposed three main areas of focus: cleaning up Washington, protecting American workers and restoring rule of law. He also swore that he would repeal and replace Obamacare and build a wall along the Southern border (that Mexico would pay for). He added that he would rebuild military bases and begin finding the replacement for former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a promise he would also forget he made.
And like most things associated with Trump, it’s been a lot of big talk and little results. Since taking office, Trump has not only failed to clean up Washington but also hasn’t even fully staffed 90 percent of the top positions for which he’s responsible.
“Trump has made a mere 50 nominations to fill the top 553 positions of the executive branch, as of Friday. That’s right: He hasn’t even nominated anyone for 90 percent of its top jobs. The average president since 1989 had nominated twice as many,” the New York Times reports.
One reason Trump is having trouble filling these positions is that he can’t stop the infighting within the Republican Party and inside the White House. Since taking office, Trump has tried to run the White House like a trumped-up version (pun intended) of The Apprentice. At one point he attempted, and failed miserably, to ram a dejected and dismal health care bill down the throats of Congress, one that even Republicans refused to get behind. So when it came to repealing and replacing Obamacare, President Trump ended up looking more like President Dunce. He actually said, out loud, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
Not to mention the actual real in-house fighting between white nationalist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner over who gets to play president while the president is present.
But let’s not get stuck there. Remember the racist birdcall of “Build the wall” that Trump voters would yell as their dictator took to the podium? He swore that Mexico was going to pay for it, and since taking office, he’s switched gears completely and is currently trying to find the funding in Congress to pay for a wall that could cost nearly “$70 billion to build and $150 million a year to maintain,” the New York Times reports.
To date, Trump’s biggest accomplishment is nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and actually getting him confirmed, but it would just be great if he could remember what he promised and what actually took place.
During the interview with AP, Trump didn’t remember what was in his “contract” with the American voter:
AP: So in terms of the 100-day plan that you did put out during the campaign, do you feel, though, that people should hold you accountable to this in terms of judging success?
Trump: No, because much of the foundation’s been laid. Things came up. I’ll give you an example. I didn’t put Supreme Court judge on the 100 [day] plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge.
AP: I think it’s on there.
Trump: I don’t know. ...
I don’t have enough bandwidth, nor does The Root have enough virtual memory, to chronicle all of the goings-on with Russia and the Trump administration. Currently, as this was being written, news was breaking surrounding the fuckery former national security adviser Michael Flynn caused by taking foreign payments from Russians.
It was clear during his run for the White House that Trump was out of his depth, but he appealed to a sect of America that hated former President Obama because he was a black man. Trump ran on a platform of hate, and those who agree with his brand of vitriol voted for him. Maybe all 59 million of those who voted for Trump weren’t racist, but they had no problem voting for a man who is, and to those voters, it doesn’t matter that he’s in bed with Russia, or that he won’t fulfill any of the promises he made while running for office. It doesn’t matter to them that he vacations almost as much as he’s in office, or that he’s costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
They are willing to ignore the continual lies that come from this administration, and the 100 days of proof that nothing he says means anything. Trump hates who racists hate, and in the eyes of Trump voters, they will continue to root for their brand of demagoguery and push for this sham of a president to stay in office because he hates the way they do, and they love that more than the lies he tells or the promises he can’t keep.