On Friday, President Donald J. Trump pitched his “Platinum Plan” [PDF] to send billions in aid to black communities, push more criminal justice reform, make “Juneteenth” a national holiday, classify lynching as a federal crime, and designate Antifa and the Ku Klux Klan as terror groups [Trump $500B Black America plan designates KKK, Antifa as ‘terrorist organizations’, by Brooke Singman, Fox News, September 25, 2020]. But given that Trump’s weakness in polls is now among his white base, which this goody bag for angry blacks will do nothing to change, the plan must mystify his loyalists. Even worse, it’s self-defeating. He can’t defend the interests of the people who could elect him— whites—and concomitantly push a bill that implicitly demonizes them.
The Platinum Plan is the basically usual GOP appeal to perpetually aggrieved blacks, but on steroids, with promises of Jack Kempian opportunity zones, school choice, more funding for historically black colleges—and, laughably, the elimination of occupational licensing requirements, one of the more silly ideas from the libertarians they don’t believe themselves. When I see a libertarian seek treatment from an unlicensed brain surgeon, I’ll believe their press releases.
To be fair, the plan does pitch one key national populist idea as good for blacks: an immigration policy that protects black jobs, for instance, and creates more black jobs by insisting on tough trade deals and bringing manufacturing back home. Of course, immigration patriots can and should support those ideas.
But problems abound:
Those three strikes should be enough to call this plan out, but alas, it gets worse.
Its designation of Antifa as a “Terror Group” is all well and good—and obvious to anyone but someone like Son-In-Law In Chief Jared Kushner — but why lump these communist revolutionaries, who with Black Lives Matter are setting American cities aflame, with the virtually non-existent (except for FBI infiltrators) KKK?
This could be ominous. Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf and FBI director Christopher Wray have even said the No. 1 domestic security threat in America isn’t Antifa or BLM, but instead “white supremacists” [White supremacists are top terrorist threats within U.S., Homeland Security's Wolf says, by Josyana Joshua and Daniel Flatley, Bloomberg, September 24, 2020]. That’s inexplicable from two Trump appointees who must know better.
Trump himself seems more concerned with Leftist revolutionaries, but the Platinum Plan falsely suggests the two sides are equally dangerous. They aren’t, and never have been. The Klan and lynching have not been a problem since the 1950s. And to the degree the Klan was a problem, it was never the threat that communist subversives were. Klansmen did not completely penetrate almost every branch of the federal government on behalf of a hostile foreign power.
Maybe the White House will declare war on polio next week.
Designating Juneteenth a national holiday forces Americans to celebrate an anti-white, anti-American day of remembrance like Martin Luther King Day [The Real Meaning of Juneteenth, by Robert Hampton, Counter-Currents, June 22, 2020]. And Trump’s embrace of this nonsense will undermine his commendable fight against Woke history. Trump recently created the 1776 Commission to counter the teaching of the 1619 Project and other anti-American propaganda in our schools. He is zealously rooting out “Critical Race Theory” training in the federal bureaucracy. “Our mission is to defend the legacy of America’s founding, the virtue of America’s heroes, and the nobility of the American character,” Trump said [Remarks by President Trump at the White House Conference on American History, September 17, 2020]. Juneteenth does the opposite and enshrines racial shame into our national consciousness.
Recently, Trump does seem to have been trying to appeal more to the Middle American Radicals who voted for him in 2016. His latest speeches mostly avoid talk about the First Step Act and “historically low black unemployment” in favor of Law and Order. He routinely calls out the Antifa threat and promises to go after it with the full force of the law. He criticizes Black Lives Matter as “Marxist” thugs [Trump says Black Lives Matter is "discriminatory" and ‘bad for Black people,’’ by Rebecca Falconer, Axios, September 1, 2020]. He vows to defend American heritage from the poison of the Left. He warns about the Leftist zoning reforms and the imposition of Section 8 housing that will destroy American suburbs. He stands strongly against illegal immigration and occasionally discusses defending American workers from the ravages of legal immigration. Indeed, his greatest sin is forgetting to mention his temporary immigration moratorium that has protected 500,000 American jobs from cheap foreign labor.
Which is why this latest distraction from that message is so disappointing.
The logic behind the Platinum Plan is nearly inexplicable, except possibly for Jared and Ivanka Kushner and their social circle. Trump’s main obstacle on the road to a second term is not too few black voters, a demographic Republicans have never needed to win elections. His main obstacle: too few whites. A new Hill/Harris poll shows Trump with only 49 percent; Rasmussen gives him 50 percent. In 2016, Trump won 57.
Granted, both polls do show Trump doing relatively well among blacks. The Hill/Harris survey gives Trump 13 percent black support, 5 points higher than 2016. Rasmussen gives him an astonishing 32 percent. But this won’t save him if he is losing support among the far larger white demographic he must win on November 3.
So why is Trump pushing for this stupid plan?
Kushner, a cheerleader for criminal justice reform, is likely advising him to aggressively court blacks to show he’s not a “racist.” The one moment that Trump received unqualified praise from the MSM was his signing the First Step Act. So he might think the Platinum Plan will create similar good feelings.
But if he thinks that, well, he has another think coming. Trump’s reward from ruling-class elites for his munificence to a demographic that mostly hates him? Try this roundup of headlines from The Hill about the Sunday gabfests:
The only praise came from black Democrat Vernon Jones of Georgia, who wants Trump to label BLM a terror group [Trump's work for Black community 'unparalleled to any other president' of past 50 years: Dem lawmaker, by Charles Creitz, Fox News, September 25, 2020].
One rationale: the Platinum Plan might be a ploy to win college-educated whites. It offers most whites nothing, but might persuade them that Trump is not the evil racist that CNN makes him out to be. In other words, cucked white college grads can tell themselves Trump has changed and they can safely vote for him.
The problem: Trump might lose more votes than he gains. His working-class white base won’t see the benefit. And they could care less about respectability than in having their interests upheld.
The only way to salvage something from this daft idea: disinter a policy buried deep in the plan that will appeal to all real Americans, black, white, or any other color: immigration restriction and populist economics (UBI? Forgiving college debt?). The points about reforming immigration policy to protect American jobs are wildly popular. Roughly two-thirds of Americans back Trump’s immigration moratorium and 49 percent of Democrats back it [Poll shows growing disconnect over Trump’s hard-line immigration policies, by Alan Gomez, USA Today, August 12, 2020]. Immigration threatens both white collar and blue-collar jobs.
The White House public relations wizards can call it “the Gold Plan.”
It’s where Trump can separate himself from Sundown Joe. The Democrats want more immigration and oppose any restriction of cheap foreign workers whom Biden, Pelosi, & Co. believe will vote for the party. American workers need to know who will stick up for them: Donald J. Trump.
Time is running out. Trump can’t afford any more fruitless outreach efforts. He can barely afford this one. But now that he’s dropped this bomb, he should forget it, let supporters like Jordan push it, and remember his immigration moratorium and other America First priorities instead.
Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.