What The Hell We Have Already Lost
Last year I worked as the Director of African-American Advertising for the Hillary for America campaign. The first African-American focused general election ad that we released after I joined the campaign was called “Everything.” It was an answer to President Trump’s nonsensical, rhetorical question to African-American voters asking “What the hell do you have to lose?” The video illustrated exactly what African-Americans had to lose when it came to the potential for a Trump presidency — everything.
That video and that news cycle came back to mind today coinciding with the release of President Trump’s budget which called for devastating cuts to programs that many Americans in urban America, especially African-American and minority communities depend upon.
The President is proposing a cut of over $6 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). More than just a line item in an expansive federal budget, this is a moral document that demonstrates your values and whose side you’re on.
The President wants to make affordable housing less accessible, decrease spending on homeless shelters in urban areas, make it harder for citizens in low and moderate income communities to become homeowners. This is where he thinks we should be cutting the fat. Meanwhile, he wants to give corporate welfare and tax giveaways to the wealthy class on Wall Street that he was a part of for the last 40 years.
His budget also calls for eliminating the Community Development Block Grant program which helps low and moderate income communities decide where to invest in housing and jobs.
Because of these actions, millions of Americans in underserved communities, especially minorities, now have a higher hurdle to climb to reach their potential.
Unfortunately, too many voters — more bluntly too many African-American voters — decided to gamble on this President when he asked that infamous question “What the hell do you have to lose?” If you factor those African-Americans who voted for third party candidates with no chance of victory, those voting for President Trump and those who stayed home, that probably accounts for a good chunk of the difference in this election in places like Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Miami.
And remember, this is the same President whose company was sued by the Reagan administration on more than one occasion in the 1980s for housing discrimination in his family owned rental housing. So we can’t act like we didn’t see this one coming.
The communities that are most negatively impacted by this President’s agenda are the ones that are in greatest need of an ally in the White House. Let’s hope that the next time Donald Trump shows us who he is really fighting for, we believe him.