Politics & Race
I Can’t Believe Black People Are Seriously Considering Voting For Hillary Clinton

Could you vote for Donald Trump?

What if he admitted that all the incendiary racial statements he made since he entered the race for the Presidency were just tactics to get people to vote for him? What if he said he harbored no ill will toward Black people, but was just trying to win? What if he told you he was always on your side, but politics is a dirty game? Could you forget his Muslim hate-baiting. Could you forget the dog-whistle xenophobia he conjured up against Barack Obama? Could you forgive him for the disparaging remarks about race, ethnicity and religion?

Don’t answer yet, because you might implicate yourself.

There is another candidate who tried the same tactics in the name of “all-is-fair-in-love-and-Presidential-politics.” Before Trump tried it, there was another candidate who used Islamophobia and anti-black sentiment to try to turn the tide of an election, but it happened a long time ago, way back in the day. You might vote for them, because you may have forgotten. You’re thinking “I’d never forget someone who plays that dirty.” You’re probably saying that your memory isn’t that ssort. You probably want to know when this happened. You‘re wondering who I am talking about.

The year was 2008.

And that candidate’s name was Hillary Rodham Clinton.

For a moment, we should set aside the fact that she and the media are assuming she automatically has the “Black vote” like it was bequeathed to her in her husband’s post-Presidential will. We won’t dwell on the fact that after holding one term of an elected office and less than one term of a presidential appointment, people are blindly falling for the media-concocted narrative that she is  somehow “the candidate of “experience.” We should also set aside the fact that her husband’s administration is responsible for incarcerating more Black men than any administration in history. Let’s just remember when Hillary Clinton was the Democratic Party’s version of race-baiting, Muslim-hating Donald Trump.

For Clinton, 2015 looks a lot like 2008. After the punditry had crowned her as the “eventual nominee, when it came time to vote she found herself locked in a battle with a candidate who had captured the imagination of the young, progressive part of her constituency. In response she used the same basic argument that she’s using now: You should vote for her because she is electable and mainstream won’t vote for that other guy. She is trying to convince you the American electorate won’t vote for Bernie Sanders because he’s… well… I’m not quite sure. She was much clearer when she tried to elocute why people wouldn’t vote for Barack Obama.

‘”I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,”‘ she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “‘that found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.


In 2008 Clinton repeatedly tried to make the case that white people were just not going to vote for a Black guy. She tried to dog whistle it at first, but when the race got tight, she began to say it out loud and in plain English. After she lost the South Carolina primary Bill Clinton even reminded people it didn’t mean anything because “Jesse Jackson won here too,” But of all the race-mongering Clinton has done, perhaps that is the most benign.

Remember the photo of Obama that circulated during his first for President that spawned the birther movement?

That picture emerged from an “anonymous” email that was spread among Clinton donors. The email even raised the question whether he was really born in Hawaii.

Oh, wait. You didn’t know that? You didn’t know that, while Trump is probably the loudest and most outspoken member of the “birther” movement, it originated from a woman named Linda Starr, a Clinton supporter? No one will say that Clinton was responsible, but she played the same game that Donald Trump is now playing with Ted Cruz, using the blithe “I’m not saying… I’m just saying” attitude to let it fester and build. The entire birther movement began in the Clinton camp.

When you guffaw about pseudo-conservatives like Trump demanding that Muslims denounce radical Islam, you probably don’t remember that time when Hillary Clinton demanded that Barack Obama denounce Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. When Trump says he doesn’t know if Obama is Christian, you probably forgot that Clinton insinuated that Obama may have been educated in a “Madrasa.” When Trump rails against illegal immigrants, it may have slipped your mind when Clinton said she was “ adamantly against illegal immigration” and railed against people hiring domestic workers and “loads of people waiting to get picked up to get yard work, and construction work, and domestic work.” The only stupid thing that Donald Trump advocates that Hillary Clinton doesn’t is a wall to keep out Mexicans.

Except that she did.

According to the Daily Caller “In 2006, she told the New York Daily News that while she favored a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, she also wanted to build a fence in some areas along the southern border.”

A country that cannot control its borders is failing at one of its fundamental obligations,” she told the New York Daily News in April 2006.

“There is technology that would be in the fence that could spot people coming from 250 or 300 yards away and signal patrol agents who could respond,” she continued, while suggesting that the U.S. could model its fence after the one protecting Israel.

- Hillary Clinton

During her last run for President, groups around the country banded together and asked the Clinton camp to stop race baiting. The Week recently published a piece calling for Clinton to address the race-baiting in her 2008 campaign. Now we hear the same pleas cast towards Donald Trump, but we can’t forget that he’s following a path that may have been pioneered by someone you’re voting for.

I’m not saying Hillary Clinton is a racist.

But if you’re saying Donald Trump is a racist, I’m saying you might be casting a vote for someone who has done the same things.

And I can’t believe this.

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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