Opinion

Coming soon to Trump's America: A new era of minority activism

The best hope then to rein in Trump's future excesses comes not from white people — but his prospective victims, minorities

Deep down, millions of Americans believe a simple morality tale that goes something like this: The white Christian establishment is the original source and continuing guardian of America's tradition of liberty and limited government, and minorities threaten it because they don't share the same attachments.

This has always been nonsense. But in Donald Trump's America, that will become even more obvious. Indeed, if America's liberal democracy has a future, it is no longer with Trump's overwhelmingly white backers, but with minorities.

Think about America under President Trump. He will likely exercise draconian powers to make good on his promise to eject from America millions of undocumented immigrants. It would require a vast expansion of the police state to hunt down and detail these immigrants. And remember, Trump vowed to end the "war on cops." He ran as a law-and-order candidate who isn't likely to have much use for reining in police abuse, especially if Rudy Giuliani is his attorney general. In fact, Trump has explicitly promised to expand racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies. He speaks of African-American communities with casual disdain. He vowed to ban Muslims from the U.S. And on and on and on.

All of these tendencies need to be forcefully resisted. But where will this resistance come from? Not whites.

Exit polls show that 58 percent of white voters went for Trump. A majority of white men (63 percent) backed him. But so did a majority of white women (53 percent). They weren't just non-college educated, low-information voters. As expected, 67 percent of that group voted for Trump — but so did 54 percent of college-educated white men. Among white women, about 62 percent of the non-college educated went for Trump and — shockingly — also 45 percent of the college educated.

Now, obviously, tens of millions of white people actively opposed Trump. And equally obviously, not all the white folks who voted for Trump necessarily approve of his character or tactics — and are appalled by his racism. But too many of them also didn't think that his executive excesses posed a huge danger to them — or else they wouldn't have pulled the lever for him. That's also the reason why they'll likely look the other way if Trump tramples the Constitution.

The best hope then to rein in Trump's future excesses comes not from white people — but his prospective victims, minorities.

The Latino firewall that was supposed to stop Trump on Election Day failed. Latinos did not come out in high enough numbers. About 29 percent actually voted for Trump, defying expectations and besting Mitt Romney by 5 percentage points. However, in literally every swing state except Florida, according to exit polls by Latino Decisions, Trump got less than 17 percent of the Latino vote. It was in reliably red states that Trump ran up his numbers with Latinos.

Among blacks, Trump got less than 8 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Asian Americans, who have historically voted for Democrats at rates that rival those of blacks, said they were "scared" of Trump being in the Oval Office.

The fear and trembling that Trump is striking among minorities, about 40 percent of the population, could be a potent force to protect the Constitution. Minorities have every reason to heighten their vigilance. They need the Constitution's protections more than ever. This is one reason why so many of them are out on the streets protesting Trump's election. These protests will escalate if the Trump presidency unfolds as expected — as will lawsuits against his administration by civil libertarian outfits.

We may be entering a new era of minority activism.

This is, in a way, as it should be. After all, the whole purpose of the Constitution is to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. The only foolishness might have been the fairytale that a white majority with an abstract love for the Constitution alone could ever be a reliable custodian of America's freedoms.

More From...

Picture of Shikha DalmiaShikha Dalmia
Read All
Greg Abbott turns Republican rage into law
Greg Abbott.
Opinion

Greg Abbott turns Republican rage into law

Biden's lose-lose immigration strategy
Biden and border.
Opinion

Biden's lose-lose immigration strategy

How Biden's immigration bill would empower future Trumps
President Biden.
Opinion

How Biden's immigration bill would empower future Trumps

How Biden can future-proof America's immigration system
Joe Biden, Stephen Miller.
Opinion

How Biden can future-proof America's immigration system

Recommended

FBI searches Brian Laundrie's family home in Florida
Police officers stand outside of Brian Laundrie's home.
mysteries

FBI searches Brian Laundrie's family home in Florida

Arkansas man sues Texas doctor who defied state's abortion ban
Supporters of abortion rights protest at the Texas State Capitol.
reproductive rights

Arkansas man sues Texas doctor who defied state's abortion ban

Biden to raise refugee admissions cap to 125,000
President Biden.
'a reflection of core American values'

Biden to raise refugee admissions cap to 125,000

Book details Sanders' fears of 'authoritarianism' after Jan. 6
Bernie Sanders.
'how does that happen?'

Book details Sanders' fears of 'authoritarianism' after Jan. 6

Most Popular

7 cartoons about America's vaccine fights
Editorial Cartoon.
Feature

7 cartoons about America's vaccine fights

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?
Elizabeth Holmes and James Mattis.
Samuel Goldman

Did Theranos Lose Afghanistan?

France's anger at U.S., U.K., Australia over defense deal may not die down quickly
Emmanuel Macron.
this isn't over

France's anger at U.S., U.K., Australia over defense deal may not die down quickly