Why Trump really pardoned the Johnsons
He’s wooing blacks and killing Democratic Party
As the Democratic Party remains in the coma it entered in November 2016, President Trump is performing his greatest magic trick. And he’s doing it right under their noses.
Anyone who thinks Trump’s decision to pardon the late boxer Jack Johnson and commute Alice Marie Johnson’s unfair sentence wasn’t part of a greater plan is delusional.
Donald Trump is wooing black voters. Anyone who thinks that Trump didn’t gain some black votes by those recent actions doesn’t understand the power of connecting with the disconnected.
In Detroit, and other urban areas — where we can’t get more than 14% to
20% of registered voters to turn out for a municipal election and where many people still love Kanye West — Trump might be resonating.
And now he’s considering pardoning Muhammad Ali, who doesn’t need his support, but that won’t stop Trump from claiming that he saved his reputation. After Trump floated the pardon idea, Ron Tweel, lawyer for the boxer’s estate and his widow, Lonnie, issued a statement: “We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in
1971. There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”
In fact, in 1977 President Carter pardoned every objector who declined the Vietnam War draft.
It is one more distraction, among a series of distractions from federal investigations that Trump has tried. He also has tried threatening to fire people. He has even raised the idea of pardoning himself. But, fearing little, he’s now working on his re-election campaign. Oh, you missed that?
Most people did. When Trump announced, it was barely a blip on the national radar. He announced it while being federally investigated and waving off charges that his family is benefiting from his being in office. He had raised
$10 million by April. And the NAACP didn’t march. And the Urban League didn’t put out a statement. And in Detroit, no one said a word.
While the Democratic Party is sleeping, focused on winning November’s midterms rather than uniting behind a single 2020 candidate to challenge Trump, the president is wooing black voters with the help of Kim Kardashian, who’s married to the Mad Rapper and has millions of Twitter followers, many of whom are black.
Trump is succeeding at something few people thought possible. He is getting some black people to compare him to Barack Obama. Obama didn’t get Alice Johnson out of jail. Obama didn’t pardon Jack Johnson, even though Ken Burns asked him to and produced an entire documentary explaining why.
Trump isn’t killing the Republican Party. He is killing the Democratic Party. He is single-handedly making people forget the strength and resilience and heart of the party that once tried to define itself as the place for the little guy, for the left-outs, for the have-nots.
He is doing it by making people believe that he, whom Forbes describes as the first billionaire president in U.S. history, cares more about the little guy than Democrats do.
He is making people forget that the Democratic Party champions programs for the descendants of the enslaved while the GOP attempts to convince us that slavery wasn’t as big a deal as we have been taught.
Trump is wooing black voters by accepting the friendship of people like comedian Steve Harvey, who believes that wealth is a choice, and Kanye, who believes that slavery was a choice.
If they’re not careful, the Democrats will look up and realize that the black base they’ve taken for granted for decades might not be as enthusiastic as in the past. It’s not that they might vote for Trump. But they may not vote against him.
That gives Trump his second term, and should give us all pause. And Trump’s second biggest magic trick, after being elected, will be complete.