The Texas Town That Proves Trump Supporters Aren’t Racist

Texas police officer Harvey TrumpReprinted with permission from – Newsweek – by Lee Habeeb

Originally Published 8/15/18

To know Abilene is to know an American town that today’s elite political class simply can’t wrap their small-minded heads around. No other town in America voted more heavily for President Trump than this former frontier town in West Texas. Nearly 80 percent.

The town of over 130,000 people is also predominantly white. Almost 80 percent.

Leftists media types and academics would look at those two numbers and jump to all kinds of knee-jerk conclusions. Just as CNN’s white resentment evangelist Van Jones did when—on election night and without any supporting facts—he called the Trump win a “whitelash.”

He essentially called white people who voted for Trump racists, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper listened to the ugly, hateful charge without a rebuttal. Or even a raised eyebrow. We all know why.

But here’s why Abilene is so interesting. In 2017, just months after voting so overwhelmingly for Trump, they elected a black mayor for the first time in the town’s 136 year history. And did so by a wide margin.

Those same white people who voted for President Trump helped propel Anthony Williams to victory in a town with a black population hovering at 10 percent.

“People were so eager to vote, there was actually a higher turnout at the runoff than the general election,” the Texas Standard reported. “It’s been at least two decades since that has happened in Taylor County.”

“Just like other Texans, I’m proud to be a Texan,” Williams told local reporters and residents in town after the big win. “As an African-American, I’m proud of my heritage, but I really want to focus more broadly on our community.”

Is that nativism, to be proud of your home state? Or home town? If so, Williams is a black nativist who didn’t at all mind sharing his pride and love of his community.

Local media was equally proud. “Normally, a few officials, friends and family show up for this bit of official duty that follows acceptance of an election vote,” the editorial team at the Abilene Reporter News wrote the day after Williams was sworn into office. But this ceremony, the editorial board continued, was different.

“The people crowded into the room may never have been more diverse. Men and women. Young and old. White, black and brown. Some dressed casually, some in suits and dresses. People of different political views, for sure. And probably people of different sexual orientations. What they shared was the moment—an African-American had won election as mayor,” the editorial noted. “The look on some old-timers’ eyes in the audience suggested pride and satisfaction that a once unthinkable event has occurred.”

How did he win? “I would attribute that to our hard work,” Williams said after his victory. “We actually contacted 20,000 registered voters.”

But the Abilene Reporter’s editorial board had a broader explanation for the win. “What appealed to more voters were his likability, the effort he put into his campaign, his ideas and being all-in for Abilene,” the concluded.

Williams campaigned around race, and spoke often about seating a more diverse group of people at the table, meaning, in part, more people of color. But that didn’t scare away the white majority because the voters in Abilene knew Williams. And Williams knew them.

It didn’t make national news, that history-making story. And social scientists and researchers won’t be running to the west Texas town any time soon to study the voters there.

We all know why: the story doesn’t comport with the narrative that white people voted for Trump because they are racist, misogynist, xenophobes who fear losing their status in the world to a growing minority population.

Indeed, that’s the hateful—and racist—narrative still being peddled in much of academia and the mostly liberal members of the mainstream media since Trump’s election.

The same, tired narrative that the media and academia have been pushing about the GOP since Ronald Reagan was elected to the nation’s highest office.

Social science loves to throw its weight behind these specious theories. In April, this was the latest headline at The New York Times in response to recent “research” by a University of Pennsylvania political science professor on the 2016 elections: Trump Voters Driven by Fear of Losing Status, Not Economic Anxiety, Study Finds.

“White, Christian and male voters, the study suggests, turned to Mr. Trump because they felt their status was at risk,” The New York Times wrote.

“It’s much more of a symbolic threat that people feel,’’ said Diana C. Mutz, who conducted the study, told The New York Times. “It’s not a threat to their own economic well-being; it’s a threat to their group’s dominance in our country over all.”

But how does Mutz explain Abilene? How does Mutz explain Nikki Haley voters in South Carolina? She was the first Indian American woman to be elected governor in American history. Her supporters voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016.

What about Tim Scott’s fans in South Carolina? He ascended to the U.S. Senate—only the 10th African American in U.S. history to do so—without much mainstream media attention, and with deep support statewide from local chapters of the Tea Party. The folks who voted for him also voted for Trump in big numbers.

Maybe it’s because the narrative of the south as a place filled with people—as President Obama once opined—who cling to their Bibles and their guns, is still the prevailing one. Or as Hillary Clinton more concisely described the folks who voted for Trump (and live in places like Albeline and South Carolina and the vast majority of America that looks red on a map,) the deplorables.

One politician who you won’t hear using that language, or relying on the latest social science to inform his political life, is Mayor Williams. He knows his own people better than any social scientist measuring data from afar. And he is now hard at work making their lives better.

A day before being sworn into office, Mayor Williams shared a bit of his life story with local reporters. It was the story of his family, but also of his town. His state. And his country.

“I’ll say this, my dad was not here when I was a child, so I was raised by my mother and assisted by my great-grandfather in Anson, TX who lived through Jim Crow, who had to pay a poll tax, take an aptitude test,” Williams said. “My mother tells a time when she woke up and found a burning cross in her front yard. My family is pretty emotional about this, so that day will be an emotional day for me.”

Williams’ grandmother, who is almost 90, was there to see him get sworn in.

Too bad Professor Mutz wasn’t there at that ceremony. She might have dared to ask real-life voters questions about their very real and rich lives.

And too bad the national media wasn’t there, too. They missed an important story. Just as they missed—and continue to miss—the story of the 2016 election.

Lee Habeeb is a Vice President of Content at Salem Media Group, and is host of Our American Stories, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Reprinted with permission from - Newsweek - by Lee Habeeb

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2 years ago

Great story! Conservatism has nothing to do with Racism. The only link with Racism is that Liberals label us with that term because we prefer not to engineer society with Affirmative Action. (Affirmative Action, when you think about it, is a form of Racism.)

2 years ago

The LEFT not understanding why Trump won is probably to our advantage.

2 years ago

Year after year, election after election the democrat party runs that same tired baseless lie – “racism”. Never any solutions, never any new ideas – just call your opponent racist! I believe the racists of today hold minorities down chained to government dependency. Does that remind you of a particular party?

James H. Rust
2 years ago

Great article that should be seen by every living person in the U. S. The Mainstream media won’t cover material like this because they like to cover bad news and blame it on the Republicans. This country is not stupid and the majority of our citizens has good common sense. Democrats are on a downward spiral because they use hate to propagate their policies. Democrats want Socialism which is shown to fail wherever it was used to govern. To them this is no reason to abandon that form of government because they don’t trust the public to have the sense… Read more »

2 years ago

The sad part of the “race division” in America is that the left makes these false claims so often, of the right being made up of all white racists, that we spend all of our time trying to defend ourselves against these lies. It’s so ironic that the party of racism and eugenics, has so successfully convinced so many that somehow their history of atrocities, is now our history.

Phillip Boyd
2 years ago

Good article!!!

Ron F
2 years ago

What a wonderful surprise to find this NEWSWEEK reprint by Lee Habeeb in this week’s Amac Newsletter! I’ve been a citizen of Abilene, Texas, for over fifty years. As a white, conservative Republican, I voted for Anthony Williams because of his honest, forthright character and positive desire to make our community the best it can be for EACH citizen. The focus of his campaign was inclusive of EVERYONE to make that happen. Oh, and something that might make the LEFT seethe a bit more —- he’s a New Testament Christian and my brother in Christ.

2 years ago

BTW, I would vote overwhelmingly for Allan West to be our President in 2024, and I’m a 73-year-old white female!

2 years ago

A relative of mine is a life-long democrat. That relative is the most racist person that I have met.

this is
2 years ago

Abilene city and residents, YOU ROCK!!!! You have set an example that the rest of this nation should follow proudly!!!! And I’m sure any socialist would be afraid to set foot in your city, towns or anywhere near you, for fear they would be run out of town to fast, they wouldn’t know what hit them! You are what I would call TRUE AMERICANS , the red, white and blue fabric of this nation and you don’t let racism get the better of you. Your story is a wonderful one, Mayor Williams, and my hat’s off to you too. Abilene… Read more »

Amelia Little
2 years ago

I imagine that most real people in America are pretty much like those where I live. Now, one can tell if one is of another race, but race doesn’t seem to matter much–we all work side-by-side, live next door to each other, our kids go to the same schools and parties, etc etc etc. I couldn’t tell you what political party anyone is–except on ballots during election–those people have their political party on the ballot. I can’t tell what religion anyone is–or if they have no religion (unless I see them in church) and have no clue what anyone’s sexual… Read more »

Patricia dryden Leach
2 years ago

Wonderful article!!

2 years ago

Good article, wish the news would back off of President Trump, He is doing a great job and can handle our country to make it great again.

2 years ago

Enjoyed this article very much.

2 years ago

Did I miss it? The new Mayor’s Party? If he is a Democrat, why is he? Why would the town vote Democrat? For the sake of history? Nothing wrong with his race, it’s the Party.

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