INSIDE A TRUMP RALLY: What are black Trump supporters thinking?by Lee Eric Smith, Tri-State Defender Memphis October 29, 2018
By now, no one should be surprised that Kanye West is a fan of President Donald Trump. It’s been months since he first posted a selfie wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, so the surprise should be gone.
And yet, there we were again Monday morning, talking about West and his red baseball cap after his appearance on Saturday Night Live and his most recent remarks about repealing the 13th Amendment.
But for many African Americans, the deeper question for West – or for anyone with melanin in their skin – is why.
Why do you support Trump, given his offensive remarks, his silence on white nationalism, his rollbacks of Obama-era policies? What makes an African American put on a MAGA hat?
What in the world are these black folk thinking?
When I found out Trump would be at the Landers Center campaigning for Mississippi Senate hopeful Cindy Hyde-Smith, I decided to go find some African American Trump supporters and ask.
And that’s how, in an election season punctuated by a bitter Senate battle for the Supreme Court, I found myself strolling into a “Make America Great Again” rally on Tuesday afternoon.
Here’s what I learned.
Get that money
No surprise, traffic was a mess on Church Road, with traffic backed up as early as 3 p.m. if not earlier. It was while I was stuck in traffic that I first saw some black folk sporting Trump gear.
They were selling it also.
I saw at least three tents at that intersection, all staffed by African Americans displaying popular Trump-themed shirts. “Drain The Swamp!” and “Lock Her Up!” shirts were among the sure sellers.
I was focused on parking and getting checked in, so I didn’t stop to talk to them. Plus, they looked busy. I’ll never know where they stand on Trump or his polices, but I couldn’t help believing that these vendors would be selling shirts regardless of the event.
Whether it’s Trump 2020 or MLK50, the process is the same: put the design on the shirt, make the shirt, sell the shirt. Repeat. It’s just business.
At the end of this sweaty October day, it was obvious that Trump represented a business opportunity for these entrepreneurs – and the hustle doesn’t stop for anybody. On this day at least, Donald Trump is simply good for business.