Obama Chides Electorate; offers Trump advice
By Bria Horsley,Howard University News Service
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama, in his first comments on the Nov. 8 election following the selection of Donald Trump as president, told those marching in protest and others upset over the nation’s choice of president something he has been saying throughout his eight-year term.
“Hopefully, it’s a reminder that elections matter and voting counts,” he told reporters during a White House press conference. “And so, you know, I don’t know how many times we have to relearn this lesson because we ended up having 43 percent of the country not voting who were eligible to vote, but it makes a difference.”
African Americans and other groups failed to go to the polls at the record numbers generated by their opponents, according to polls, which assured Trump a presidential victory.
While most thought that Obama wouldn’t spare negative comments about the incoming president, he stayed away from critical statements.
“I don’t think he is ideological,” Obama said. “I think ultimately he’s pragmatic in that way. That can serve him well as long as he’s got good people around him, and he has a clear sense of direction.”
Trump, who has made harsh statements about the Obama administration throughout his campaign, has announced his appointed key strategist in the White House. Steve Bannon, a major proponent in the ultraconservative alt-right movement, will be Trump’s right-hand man and senior advisor.
Civil rights activists, Democrats and some Republicans said Brannon, the head of conservative Breitbart News, would bring racist, anti-Semitic and nationalist views to the government.
Obama refused to comment on Brannon’s appointment.
“I think it’s fair to say that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on every appointment that the president-elect starts making if I want to be consistent with the notion that we are going to try to facilitate a smooth transition,” he said.
The president described Thursday’s hour and a half-long meeting with Trump as “cordial”. Many were skeptical of the conversation wanting to know if the president’s opinion of his successor had changed.
“My advice to him, as I said when we had our discussions, is that campaigning is different from governing,” he said.. “I think he recognizes that. I think he’s sincere in wanting to be a successful president and wanting to move this country forward.
He said he did have some concerns about Trump, particularly around his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, which some have derisively called Obamacare.
He suggested Trump rethink the changes he stated he would make to Obama’s program and the deferred deportation of young immigrants.
Throughout the conference, Obama continued to urge Democrats to realize that things in a democracy change rapidly, but not inevitably. He said he wants them to maintain their core values as America makes the transition to a new administration.
The president finished the conference by saying what he will do to help Trump direct the country in the right direction.
“And so we will try to share the lessons that we’ve learned over these last eight years with the incoming president, and my hope is he makes things better,” he said, “and if he does, we’ll all benefit from it.”
Trump won the election, but white supremacy won’t win forever
How many spent hours in line, and how many had to leave lines because they had to go to work?
Hillary Clinton ended her campaign with more than $50 million in the bank! Might some of that money have made a difference in energizing the base? Could more people have been put on payroll as organizers in battleground states, especially North Carolina and Pennsylvania? Should grassroots organizers have received more resources? Lots of fingers can be pointed in this post-election analysis, but analysis notwithstanding, Trump won. It hurts to write that reality down, but it is a reality we will all have to grapple with for four years.
Part of the ugly reality is the realization that too many of our fellow citizens have embraced a racially divisive candidate whose rhetoric has unleashed hateful speech and attitudes. The Detroit News reported that students in Oakland, Michigan blocked pathways of Latino students coming to school, shouting, “build the wall.” These children are emulating their elders, including the “President-elect.” The nonpartisan education news website, the74million.org, has reported that “election-related” school violence is on the rise in the wake of the Trump victory.
Donald Trump was able to tap into the angst that too many whites felt during the Obama presidency, and he was able to win the presidency in the name of white solidarity and white supremacy. It seems incongruous that a rich, privileged, urban businessman should become the voice of the working class disgruntled, the rural neglected (Trump got 62 percent of the rural vote), and white women. But this is the new reality: the triumph of white privilege and hate rhetoric.
Whites are just 40 percent of the population in California, a state that gave Hillary Clinton 61.5 percent of its vote. And the Census reports that by 2044 there will be no majority group in our nation. White folks might as well enjoy Trump while they can, but time and demographics are on our side. White supremacy won’t reign forever.