It was a surprise to me.
Every night of last week’s Republican National Convention featured a steady parade of mostly black men — from football star Herschel Walker to Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones (D) — saying racism isn’t a problem in America and President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE is not a racist.
Jones said Democrats don’t “want Black people to leave their mental plantation.” He added that he had “news” for Democrats: “We are free people with free minds.”
Well, if that is true, then an amazing number of free black people think Trump is a racist and feeding the fires of racial hatred.
Here are the numbers.
Eighty-eight percent of black people told Marist College pollsters in June that Trump has increased racial tension. Earlier this year, another poll, from the Washington Post and Ipsos, found more than 80 percent of black Americans said Trump is racist.
Keep in mind it is not just black people who think Trump is racist. Among free-thinking Americans of all ethnicities, 52 percent say Trump is racist, according to a poll by YouGov/Yahoo.
And while Trump describes the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ as a “symbol of hate,” 84 percent of black people with free minds support the movement, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in June. And 52 percent of all Americans are “sympathetic” to Black Lives Matter’s goals, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll done last month.
Maybe that is why free-minded black people give former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE a 74-percentage point lead — 83-9 — over Trump, according to a new Morning Consult poll.
So why, then, did the Trump campaign spend so much convention time having black faces lead a ‘gaslight’ crusade to create an alternate reality in which Trump is a man intent on healing racial wounds?
Well, it is a mistake to think those black faces on the convention stage were speaking to black people. They were on stage to speak to white women in the suburbs and white men in Trump’s base.
Their first job was to get white, suburban women to stop seeing Trump as a racist.
White female voters went for Trump by nine points in 2016. But in the 2018 midterms they split their vote and gave Democrats control of the House. Recent polls show women favor Biden by “an eye-popping 23 percentage points, according to an average of national polls since late June,” according to the Washington Post.
And when Trump sent federal agents into cities “some 44 percent of suburban Americans said they thought the federal agents were being used for political purposes,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Currently, suburban voters favor Biden. But according to the Morning Consult poll, after Trump’s fear-filled convention pitch, Biden leads by 8 points with suburbanites, as opposed to 14 points before the convention.
Trump’s plan to win back those suburbanites, especially the white women, is out in the open.
In July, he tweeted: “Suburban Housewives of America…Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it.”
Trump is also promising to end Obama administration efforts to get suburban governments to build more moderate and low-income housing.
That pledge is a plainly racist appeal from Trump to the people he calls “housewives,” that he will save them from criminals and an influx of any neighbors who are not upper income, and white.
Trump needed black voices to tell white women that kind of thinking isn’t racist while also slamming black people as failing to think for themselves.
It doesn’t stop there.
Trump-loving black voices at the GOP convention had another job.
Tell Trump’s heavily white, male base of voters that they are not racist for backing Trump and America is not a racist country.
Trump’s lawyer and friend Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiLev Parnas found guilty of breaking campaign finance laws Giuliani associate Lev Parnas won't testify at trial Four Seasons Total Landscaping comes full circle with MSNBC special MORE spoke at the convention and called Black Lives Matter one of the root causes of an “unprecedented wave of lawlessness.” Before the convention he labeled “Black Lives Matter” as part of “domestic terrorist groups — without any doubt.”
Trump’s vice president, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat Biden, Trump tied in potential 2024 match-up: poll Nearly 80 percent of Republicans want to see Trump run in 2024: poll MORE, reminded voters in his convention speech that “law and order are on the ballot.” He even said: “The hard truth is, you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”
What was the point of all the rhetoric about crime at a time when crime is at near record lows?
Rick Wilson, a former GOP strategist who worked for Giuliani and now opposes Trump, said the point is that “They’re coming for you, they’re coming for you to your suburbs, these Black Lives Matter [protesters.]”
But Giuliani and Pence are white voices. Again, Trump needed black voices to assert that the real problem is that blacks can’t think for themselves and the racial justice movement is just an excuse for looting, violence and chaos.
The strategy was revealed when a white woman, Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne ConwayEthics watchdog accuses Psaki of violating Hatch Act Biden administration competency doubts increase Cook Political Report shifts Virginia governor's race to 'toss-up' MORE, a senior advisor to Trump, said plainly that the Trump campaign benefits from “more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence,” because it offers voters a “very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.”
That led Biden to say that Trump is “just pouring gasoline on the racial flames that are burning now.”
Every day of the convention, Trump turned to black voices to tell white voters to ignore reports of racial fires burning in America. I’m black, they said, and it is just a false alarm.
Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.