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Ballasy writes: "Dr. Cornel West told PJM that he appreciates Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's outreach to African-Americans, but predicted the billionaire businessman would ultimately receive as many African-American votes as there are "Negroes in the National Hockey League."

Dr. Cornel West. (photo: Robin Holland)
Dr. Cornel West. (photo: Robin Holland)

Cornel West: Trump Will Get as Many Black Votes as 'Negroes in the National Hockey League'

By Nicholas Ballasy, PJ Media

02 October 16


r. Cornel West told PJM that he appreciates Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s outreach to African-Americans, but predicted the billionaire businessman would ultimately receive as many African-American votes as there are “Negroes in the National Hockey League.”

West said he disagreed with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton saying half of Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables” and some were “irredeemable,” and agreed with her decision to apologize for the “half” part.

“I don’t like comments like that — that any person is thoroughly irredeemable. I mean, maybe it’s because I’ve got a Christian sensibility. We’ve all got gangster proclivities and all of us have the possibility of being transformed and changed, but I don’t like the idea of a huge slice of America just irredeemable. If they’re xenophobic, you call them xenophobic, but they can change. You know, George Wallace was an exemplary white supremacist; he changed,” West said following a press conference Thursday at the National Press Club, where he joined a group of African-American pilots to call on the Department of Justice and Congress to investigate United Airlines’ treatment of minorities.

“Lyndon Baines Johnson was a white supremacist and segregationist early on and became the most important U.S. president for force against white supremacy — people change. Malcolm X — he was a gangster — Malcolm Little, Elijah Muhammad loved him. Malcolm emerged and he kept growing and he kept growing, so I don’t like this notion of ‘irredeemable.’ I don’t mind her saying that a significant slice of brother Donald Trump’s social base are deeply xenophobic and racist and misogynist because they are, but that’s just the truth. The truth is not static. It’s stationary. People can change and be transformed, absolutely,” he added.

Clinton said she regretted making the “basket of deplorables” statement but still referred to Trump’s campaign as “deplorable.” She also called Trump “deplorable” for questioning President Obama’s birthplace in 2011. He said on Friday that he believes Obama was born in the United States.

“Trump is a neo-fascist — that’s even worse than a racist, man, so I mean, she needs to call it for what it is, but he can change too. Neo-fascists can change into something else,” West told PJM.

When asked if he supported Trump’s efforts to reach out to the African-American community for support, West replied, “There’s some black neo-fascists out there, we’ve got a long tradition of black reactionaries, black conservatives and some black neo-fascists so if he wants to make an appeal in that regard, we’ve got a few out there for him — not too many, but we’ve got a few but every group, Irish-Catholic, Jewish, Hungarian, Chinese, we’ve got reactionaries, we’ve got liberals, we’ve got centrists, we’ve got progressives, we’ve got revolutionaries — every community has that variety, you know what I mean?”

Trump has delivered two speeches to predominantly African-American churches, both this month, in Detroit and Flint, Mich. He has also pitched his support for school choice in Democratic-leaning states and has vowed to create jobs in the African-American community.

"When I see wages falling, people out of work, I know the hardships this inflicts and I am determined to do something about it. I will do something about it," Trump said at the Detroit appearance. "I do get things done, I will tell you. I'm going to get things done."

Reacting to Trump’s outreach to African-Americans, West said, “I appreciate the effort. My hunch is probably he’ll get as many black people as Negroes in the National Hockey League.”

West compared the United Coalition for Diversity’s call for an investigation into United Airlines’ hiring, training and promotion practices to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s another version of Black Lives Matter - it’s black pilot lives matter with a long history, with unbelievable excellence and skill and discipline and so forth, but it feeds directly into all of the talk about race and white supremacy and David Duke and Trump and xenophobia, the mistreatment of our brown brothers and sisters and so forth and so on, absolutely,” West said.

United Airlines commented on the group’s allegations.

“We are very proud of our diversity record and programs – as an example 5 of our 8 chief pilots at our hubs are people of color and women (including 3 African-Americans),” said a company spokesperson.

In response to the company’s statement, Brian R. Mildenberg, the attorney representing the group of African-American pilots, said three African-American chief pilots is not enough.

“It is time for all pilots to be provided with equal opportunities regardless of the color of their skin,” he said. your social media marketing partner


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+12 # kyzipster 2016-10-02 14:09
"You know, George Wallace was an exemplary white supremacist; he changed,"

OK, but he was deplorable when he was an exemplary white supremacist, so was Robert Byrd. The day we have a kumbaya moment with the Alt Right and David Duke fans, we can come back to Clinton's statements and reevaluate.
+10 # markovchhaney 2016-10-02 22:39
Actually, there was a terrific article online a week or so ago ended with a description in some detail of Wallace's change of heart and apologies about his actions in trying to preserve segregation. I think he'd have agreed that his earlier acts were deplorable. I don't think he was looking for any "kumbaya moments" (I've come to detest that expression regardless of who uses it).

I don't know that Trump is going to have some sort of death-bed regrets about his racist or xenophobic comments (or acts) before, during, or after this campaign, but I can hope he does.

I would put a bigger bet on that happening than on Hillary Clinton ever coming to grips with her own hypocrisy, however. I think someone like Wallace had life-changing experiences that helped him revise his thinking. And at least he didn't spend 70 years pretending to be a liberal. Harder for Hillary or Bill to admit that their "liberalism" always had "neo-" in front of it and was never anything like progressivism. The latest revelations from her fundraisers make clear that she thinks people truly on the Left are, well, wrong.
+4 # kyzipster 2016-10-03 10:38
Trump's narcissism will never allow him to question his flaws. I'm convinced that the Trump phenomenon is causing establishment Republicans to do some serious self reflection even if they won't admit it publicly. They have nurtured this Culture War for decades, Trump was probably inevitable. Some of them may have this insight, hopefully.
+27 # librarian1984 2016-10-02 15:35
Love Dr. West. He's exactly right.

It's wrong to write people off. Not only is it a moral imperative but in a democracy it is required. If you want to be the leader of everyone you have to speak to everyone, not dismiss them.

When asked about DT's outreach, his reply, "There's some black neo-fascists out there" haha Some people cannot tell the truth. Cornel West does nothing but.

Whether I agree with him or not, I would play dice with him over the phone.
+17 # amycbobh 2016-10-02 22:09
but it's imperative to call people what they are right now, even if someday they might change. No. I am not Mother Teresa. I do not believe Trump would change and be the best president ever.
+8 # librarian1984 2016-10-03 08:53
I thought we were talking about his followers.

Trump seems pretty fossilized; with him I suspect bribery and manipulation would prove more effective than education :-)
+25 # guomashi 2016-10-02 19:41
Dr. West speaks very directly, but this article shows that it is always with the intention of having a hard nosed dialogue and moving forward.
One has to admire his optimism.
-20 # rradiof 2016-10-02 21:38
I teach in the poorest neighborhood in Minnesota. The highest paid professional athlete to exit the Lower East Side of St. Paul is a black hockey player, Kyle Okposo. What's your point, my friend?
+19 # lfeuille 2016-10-02 22:33
As West said, there are a few, but not many. He didn't say or imply that there we no black hockey players.
+19 # Navrongo80 2016-10-03 05:14
The comment really has nothing to do about black NHL players. It was a metaphor about sample size, i.e. the percentage of Black Americans that will vote for Trump out of all possible Black American voters. He could have said left handed people. But, at 10% of American population, me thinks that number is too high.
+6 # reiverpacific 2016-10-03 10:58
Quoting rradiof:
I teach in the poorest neighborhood in Minnesota. The highest paid professional athlete to exit the Lower East Side of St. Paul is a black hockey player, Kyle Okposo. What's your point, my friend?

And how many others are in the game proportionately?
Dr. West was making a point; he never said that there were "NO" black athletes in the league.
Must you push it to the lowest common denominator?
Tiger Woods was the top golfer in the world for years but how many other blacks were -or still are- in the game, other than as caddies?
See any black swimmers in the Olympics (I noticed 1 or 2)?
0 # Anonymot 2016-10-05 11:53
Now that you mention Tiger Woods, wasn't he the guy trying to keep up with his friend Bill Clinton?
+10 # 2016-10-02 22:05
A trite overly simplistic analogy was used to describe the lack of participation of African-America ns in the Republican party politics; ideology and support of Donald Trump How ever West is right. This not bode well for either African-America ns, The Republican Party and the overall viability and sustaniblity of a two party system. We need diversity in both partys if our democracy is going to work and be truly represenative of a diverse America,
+8 # markovchhaney 2016-10-02 22:44
Let's point out, too, that Trump could get the vote of every black player in the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA. That won't win him the election.

But, in fact, I think he will get more votes from African-America ns than there are playing in the NHL. But not enough to make a difference in any state.
+7 # goodsensecynic 2016-10-02 23:18
Not being a big ice hockey fan, I am not sure how many "Negroes" there are in the NHL, but I know there's at least one - P. K. Subban currently with the Nashville Predators.

I also remember Willie O'Ree who was the Jackie Robinson of the sport and played a bit for the Boston Bruins back in 1957-1961 ... but that's another story.

Anyway, no matter how many African-Canadia ns there may be in the NHL - whether as an absolute number or as a percentage of the total - it would be a shame if that many African-America ns cast a vote for Donald Trump.

Of course, it should be embarrassing for any American - Black, Native, Latino, Asian or any shade of white/beige/pin k etc., to support the man. He has made a mockery of your "exceptional" democracy and your electorate invites further global ridicule every time it sits in thrall to him and the thugs around him - and, yes, I am talking about the likes of Giuliani, Bannon, Ailes, Buchanan and the rest.

Your country deserves better and the rest of the world deserves better by far from you.
+1 # goodsensecynic 2016-10-02 23:26
Note to "amycbobh":

I'm glad you're not Mother Teresa - a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone.

At the risk of mimicking Christopher Hitchens, however, I think the chances of Trump becoming a mediocre president (never mind the best one ever) are about the same as "Mother Teresa" being a credible Saint.

In fact, the two of them have a lot in common. They both praised harsh dictators and perpetrated frauds on unsuspecting supporters for a start.

Anyway, I would actually pray to Ms. Gonxha Bojaxhiu if I thought it would help keep Mr. Trump out of the Oval Office and save us all from the necessity of finding out what a horrible Commander-in-Ch ief he would be.
+7 # backwards_cinderella 2016-10-03 03:48
NO. People don't change. They may change some of their behaviors - they may stop drinking, for example, so they stop being the jerks they were when they were drinking - but their essential natures never change. As someone who has been in the rooms of recovery for 30+ years, I can tell you this is very true. Trump's supporters are deplorable & they are not going to change. Nor is Trump.
+7 # librarian1984 2016-10-03 06:18
I hear you but look at the examples Dr. West gives. Within the realm of politics, I enjoyed Michael Lind's Up from Conservatism years ago. The conversion of Saul. I myself remember a conversation with my mother, as a child, that convinced me not to lie. An epiphany is possible.

But more likely it takes talk. A lot of these xenophobes have never travelled 50 miles from their home. Many bigots have never had a conversation with a black or a Hispanic. Misogynists undoubtedly learned their behaviors and beliefs.

Addiction is a whole other matter, yes. You would know better, certainly, but I don't dispute your statement in that regard. May I express my sympathy to you, for the burden of witness.

But I've seen people grow from education and from experience. I've experienced it myself. Do I want to send Trump supporters abroad? No. College? Sure. I think we can think of something. Adopt-a-Bigot?

backwards_cinderella, I often enjoy your posts. Sometimes I agree completely, other times not. Are you a complicated person? Or maybe I'm a simple one :-)

+5 # deadhead 2016-10-03 07:13
I agree with you cinderella - at 70, he's not going to change. People fundamentally stay the same. Regarding sobriety, isn't there an old joke - "I preferred him/her drunk. At least then they could sober up". A jerk is always a jerk, "religious" conversions notwithstanding .
+4 # goodsensecynic 2016-10-03 11:03
Note to "backwards_cind erella" -

What you say about Trump and his supporters may very well be true; but at least Trump can be defeated in politics and forced to restrict his psychopathy to private life ... with, I would like to think, the a fortified IRS breathing down his neck and a host of lawsuits from cheated customers and contractors taking up most of his time.

As for his supporters, maybe they'll just become so fixated on re-runs of the "Duck Dynasty" that they'll stay home and allow the rest of your republic to take whatever 12-step program is needed to redeem what remains of civil society, the integrity of "commons," and the possibility that political freedom and social equity might one day be restored.
+5 # Sunflower 2016-10-03 06:22
I'd say as many women in the NHL will vote for Trump as well, and let's add in Hispanics in the NHL. He's offended a Lot of groups...
+3 # drew 2016-10-03 07:59
If Trump gets as many votes as 'Negroes in the National Hockey League' that'll still be way too many. It just goes to show that we all really are identical under the skin, and sadly there are jaw-droppingly stupid people of all colors. Talking to you too, Trumpettes ... !
P.S. SO proud of my hometown of Detroit were Trump recently polled at 0%.
+3 # librarian1984 2016-10-03 09:00
I do not call you stupid for preferring a warmonger and corporate puppet, even though I disagree with you.

I find it is the Hillary people who are most willing to be arrogant and unkind.

I guess that makes sense.
-2 # Caliban 2016-10-03 13:01
"A warmonger and corporate puppet" --

Please, be fair. Mr Trump IS the Corporation, not merely the puppet.
+5 # librarian1984 2016-10-03 14:14
Trump is outside the 'in' crowd who cater to TPTB. He is considered a rogue and an unknown element. That's why he frightens them.

But HRC is a well-heeled tool, and will do as she is told.

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