This Friday John Lewis talked to NBC's Chuck Todd about the way Donald Trump was elected:
Asked whether he would try to forge a relationship with the president-elect, Lewis said that he believes in forgiveness, but added, "it's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president."
When pressed to explain why, he cited allegations of Russian hacks during the campaign that led to the release of internal documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign co-chairman, John Podesta.
Saturday morning, as you probably know, Trump lashed out at Lewis on Twitter:
I'm sure I don't need to remind you that John Lewis was being beaten up by racist cops while trying to secure equal rights for black people at a time when Trump was a smirking high school student. And I'm sure I also don't need to point out that this won't hurt Trump with his base, or with the majority of mainstream Republicans, who may not be superfans of the president-elect but who've now jumped on the Trump train and will never disembark, or at least not until the rich get all the tax cuts to which they believe they're entitled.
But I want to direct your attention to some information about Lewis's district, which points to a larger problem in America:
By contrast, as of 2010, the percentages for America as a whole were 84.5% and 27.4%, respectively.
I found that in the Twitter feed of Dave Weigel, who makes some further points on this subject:
I'd say that we'd need to pay attention to John Lewis even if his district were crime-ridden and very poor. But it's extremely easy for white America, especially the portion of it that voted Trump, to dismiss his constituents because, in the mass media at least, they're invisible.
Trump's characterization of Lewis's district isn't based on knowledge or experience. Trump just "knows" that every black member of Congress (except for the occasional black Republican) represents a poverty-stricken high-crime area because, well, every black neighborhood is poor and crime-stricken, right? And much of white America "knows" this, too. White America might see middle-class blacks in TV or movie fiction, but I'm certain that many whites regard those characters as figures of pure fantasy.
Trump voters may complain that the media didn't take them seriously, but the press published story after story, both during and after the election, attempting to explain who Trump voters are and what they think. Meanwhile, the voters who elect Lewis are the core of the Democratic Party's support, the ones who gave Hillary Clinton her victory margins in the primaries, yet we never saw them in the media. How many stories have you encountered about a group of old white guys sitting around a heartland diner talking about how great Trump is? There was yet another one in The New York Times just a couple of days ago. Where's the equivalent for middle-class African-American Democratic voters?
The core of the party that won the popular vote consists of voters who just aren't clickbait-y, I guess. And that's the charitable explanation for why the press refuses to cover them.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog