Before you can get inside the mind of a black Donald Trump supporter, you’ve got to find one.
It’s like hunting for a unicorn.
“Oh, Lord,” said Betty Culbreath, 75, a black civic leader and ex-Republican who switched political jerseys in 2008 to vote for Barack Obama.
“Good luck,” she snickered. “There aren’t many around.”
Enter Reginald Collins, a 50-year-old independent real estate broker — and the son of a late black pastor — who’s proudly casting his lot with Trump.
“I think I’m a lone wolf,” said Collins, a former transportation planner and real estate specialist for the city of Dallas. “I try to bring a few out and they don’t want to come out in the light.”
What does he like about Trump?
Well, just about everything, including the puerile bluster Trump dishes out like a playground bully on steroids.
“I know it’s rough around the edges and it can hurt people’s feelings,” said Collins. “But we’re not in third grade anymore. Toughen up a bit. Do you want the guy to be honest?”
Yes, of course.
But there’s a difference between candor and crudeness.
Trump takes the low road, belittling political rivals, degrading women and casting aspersions on anyone who takes him to task.
“He doesn’t mean it,” Collins said. “It’s his way of expressing himself.”
What Collins likes most about Trump is his extensive, entrepreneurial background.
Trump’s critics note that the GOP nominee has many failed ventures to his name, from Trump Steaks to Trump Vodka to Trump Airlines.
But Collins says Trump has the right “mindset” to grow the nation’s economy, create jobs and cut entitlement programs that he says undermine black progress.
“I want black people to get to a point where we’re not relying on so much help, where we are not so pitied,” he said. “And I believe the mindset of Republicans gets you there; the mindset of Democrats is giving you excuses, not forcing you to take responsibility for your own life and welfare.”
Sure, personal responsibility always plays well among conservatives.
But what about the vestiges of institutional racism that remain? Structural and systemic inequities created huge socioeconomic disparities among blacks and whites.
Collins thinks focusing on the past and trying to bridge those gaps with government help is a political trap.
“It’s actually a strategy to make us weak, to keep us where we are,” he said. “You treat us as if we need your help. … You want to help me? Quit helping me.”
Sure enough, fiscal conservatism once drew black professionals like Culbreath and Calvin Stephens, 71, into the GOP’s folds.
“My daddy was an Eisenhower Republican,” said Culbreath. “My Republicanism came from being financially conservative.”