By The Numbers: Trump-Kanye Axis Could Mark A Tectonic Political Shift
Something just happened that may launch a political disruption that completely upsets the traditional calculation for political elections. And that’s not an overstatement, because the margins are so close in so many states that a small shift in the current predictable alignment could have a major impact.
What happened? Grammy Award-winning rapper and producer and publicity hound Kanye West tweeted.
His initial tweet was simply “I like the way Candace Owens thinks.” Candace Owens is a black, conservative woman who believes in personal responsibility, opposes blacks blaming whites for all of their problems and thinks blacks should not be stuck on the “Democratic Party plantation.” So by the mainstream media narrative, she’s “controversial.” In fact, she just thinks black should think independently as humans, not collectively as a race.
The political left naturally melted down with everything from Kanye turning his back on blacks to having mental health issues to pulling a publicity stunt (the last of which would be totally believable except for what followed.) Kanye went on a pro-Trump tweet storm of epic proportions concluding with a signed, red MAGA hat. He and Trump had a relationship of some sort before the election.
White and black liberals, including singers such as John Legend, went to great lengths to attack, undermine and explain away his tweets. On Twitter, on every major leftist website, on Facebook, on Youtube, Kanye was pounded. So he caved? No. Kanye is not a conservative in any traditional sense, and is arguably a contributor to the decline of the culture. But he also is not one to run from controversy and is about as far from politically correct as possible. He just kept tweeting.
Then his wife, Kim Kardashian, jumped to support her husband on Twitter: “He’s a free thinker, is that not allowed in America?” Oh my!
This isn’t peanuts. Kanye West has 28 million followers on Twitter, and pretty substantial engagement from them. Kim Kardashian has even more, at 60 million. For comparison, President Trump has 51 million followers — but totally different followers from Kanye and Kim. They reach people who rarely give Trump or politics much thought.
But this was far from over. Chance The Rapper tweeted. Chance (Mr. The Rapper?) is a public critic of Trump, but posted: “Black people don’t have to be democrats.” He later made clear again that he doesn’t like Trump. But the latter is not nearly so important as the former. Chance has 7.7 million Twitter followers. This created an entire meme of peoples and groups that declared they don’t need to be Democrats. They’re pretty awesome.
“Jewish people don’t have to be democrats either,” tweeted Times of Israel blogger and Daily Wire writer Elliott Hamilton.
“Gay people don’t have to be democrats either,” tweeted gay and Jewish author Chad Felix Greene.
“Immigrants don’t either. I’m a proud Conservative Republican,” tweeted Anna Khait.
“Union Members don’t have to be Democrats either,” tweeted HBwriterMike
“Native Americans don’t have to be democrats,” tweeted Apache Paul
Does this really matter? Yes. In raw politics anyway. Maybe more. Of course, it’s always possible it could just blow over in a few weeks, because this age is supremely difficult to predict. But the frantic reaction suggests at least some see the threat of a Trump-Kanye axis making it OK for blacks to not have to be Democrats.
The reality that is largely unstated is that Democrats need black votes far more than blacks need Democratic leadership. A pretty strong case can be made that Democratic leadership has been fairly awful for blacks, and that is beginning to become obvious.
So here are the numbers. In 2008, 95 percent of black Americans voted for Obama, while 93 percent did in 2012. That’s above the modern average, but not by much. Blacks have generally been close to or at 90 percent voting for Democrat presidential candidates. The lowest it has been in modern times is 85 percent, way back in 1976.
That’s a colossally monolithic voting bloc, and an absolute necessity to Democratic success nationally. And it may be cracking, which is the tectonic part. If 80 percent of blacks vote Democratic, it’s possible Democrats become a permanent minority party. If 70 percent vote Democratic, its guaranteed — even if blacks do not vote Republican. Chance suggested the next president would be an Independent.
This has been a ticking bomb for Democrats for awhile.
Just last month, NPR was reporting that, “Black Voters Need More Convincing From Democrats In 2018.” Part of this is the fallout of seeing that eight years of a black Democratic president did nothing to improve the lives of blacks (or any other Americans, for that matter.) And part is the growing sense that Democrats have taken the black vote for granted and really only pay attention to them during bi-annual election seasons.
Newsweek was reporting the same in December, “Black Voters are the Democratic Base, but Dems are Awful to Them.”
The Washington Post reported last year a Power of the Sisterhood survey that found sharply declining support for Democrats among black women (outside of the unique conditions of Alabama Senate vote with Roy Moore.)
According to the survey: “The belief that the Democratic Party best represents the interests of Black women has dropped significantly, from 85 percent to 74 percent. In fact, more Black women think that none of the political parties represent them, up to 21 percent from 13 percent in 2016.”
In fact, this has been a theme for awhile in the mainstream media, perhaps to wake up Democrats. This does not mean the disenchanted will become Republicans, but if they do not vote Democrat, that party no longer has national electoral power.
Here’s what happens when black voters stay home. A recent analysis in the New York Times estimated that 36 percent of the 4.4 million people who voted for Obama in 2012 and stayed home in 2016 were black — although blacks make up less than 12 percent of the electorate. The percentage of blacks who voted in 2012 was 66 percent, but fell to 59 percent in 2016. And Trump won.
The so-called blue wave seemed to be changing that direction, at least heading into the midterms. It seems unlikely that the Kanye-Kim-Chance-Candace free-thinking breakaway from the Democratic stranglehold could affect November. But if such high-profile, popular members of the black community are willing to talk publicly about it, and not just fall into lockstep based on skin color, the ramifications for Democrats could be fatal.
They simply cannot win without about 90 percent of black voters. And some huge black names just said that blacks don’t automatically have to vote Democrat.
That is potentially tectonic.