(Todd A. Smith)

Former President Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican supporters, which include right-wing media personalities, must have never spent real time with a Black person in their entire lives.

How else could they justify thinking that Black voters would gravitate towards Trump simply because he is an accused criminal and he released some limited-edition sneakers, which are atrocious looking?

Republicans do have an opportunity to purge some Black voters from the Democratic Party in the near future.

But it will not happen if they think that racist stereotypes will endear them to Black people who actually take pride in being Black.

In order to secure the Black vote going forward, both major political parties will have to enact policies that benefits Black people and not just offer slogans, racist tropes and ignorance as if Black people are any different than any demographic that wants their concerns taken care of.

Honestly, there are some Black people who do collect sneakers, especially limited-edition sneakers like rare Jordans.

Sometimes, people will wait in long lines just to say that they copped a shoe that not everyone will have.

Moreover, there is a market for businesspeople to buy the sneakers and then charge an exorbitant amount of money to buyers on secondary markets.

However, the sneaker community is not limited to Black people.

I have seen people of all races and both genders, salivate over the latest sneaker drops.

Some have even turned their hustle of flipping sneakers into real brick and mortar shoe stores.

But to think that sneakers are enough to get the Black vote when the GOP has maliciously tried to roll back advancements that Black people have made over the past five decades is extremely insulting.

No, it is not offensive because what could Black people expect from a party that fought to end affirmative action in higher learning, made diversity, equity and inclusion illegal, made it harder to vote and tried to rewrite American history so that truth does not offend racist White people?

But it is insulting to think that the GOP thinks the Black community can be bought with some ugly sneakers that look like the spray-painted gold boots that new initiates of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity wear during their probate shows.

First of all, I am one of those Black people that do not wear sneakers unless I am playing a sport like basketball.

And I have not played competitive basketball in years.

This Black voter only wears Vans and dress shoes because sneakers are not my style.

Therefore, Trump will not get my vote because racial equality and democracy are more important to me than shoes that I can just buy without voting for the designer and owner of the shoes.

In 2020, Trump and his sons got excited that rap icon Kanye West endorsed his campaign.

I guess the Trump team thought that Black people would vote for him if West voted for him as if Black people even like West.

Yes, many Black people once loved West’s music.

But now, many of the Black people that I speak to do not even like his recent music let alone like West’s politics.

If West cannot even get many Black people to stream his music, how can he get a lot of Black people, who might not even listen to hip-hop, to vote for West’s preferred candidate?

He cannot.

Even more insulting is the fact that Trump said that Black people are gravitating towards the former president because of his mug shot.

Yes, Black people are over-policed.

Yes, Black people often receive stiffer penalties that our White counterparts for similar crimes, same jurisdiction and similar criminal records.

But to think Trump believes Black people connect to criminality is the epitome of racism.

Newsflash to every White person that thinks Black equals criminal, I have never spent a night in jail.

Nor, have I ever gotten accused of a crime.

No, none of my close relatives are in jail.

Nor do any of my close family members have a history of street or criminal activity.

But my family does have members with doctorate and master’s degrees.

The family has millionaires, those who pulled themselves up from their own bootstraps to make it to the upper class of society.

The family has educators, nurses, medical students, accountants, politicians, rappers, pastors and television personalities.

The family also has members who have gotten drafted to play professional sports, and countless others who have received full scholarships to play football, basketball and baseball on the collegiate level.

Many of those college and professional athletes received free sneakers and cleats along the way.

But I doubt that they voted for someone because of those shoes.

They have voted for people who cared about their community.

They have voted for people whose policies would benefit their families.

The GOP finds themselves in a dilemma.

As the country gets browner, they will have to change their messaging to compete in national elections.

They cannot continue alienating voters with hateful and racist messaging.

They cannot shun diversity and equity.

They cannot ignore the plight that our ancestors endured just because that reality offends racist White people.

The modern-day Republican Party has failed to make a dent in the Black vote because it seems like they only care about the feelings of racist White people.

Until that changes, they can brag about mug shots and sneakers all they want.

But until they have an agenda that benefits the Black community, they have no shot in improving their standing in the Black community.

Todd A. Smith
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