- Former President Barack Obama weighed in on President Donald Trump’s improved support in the 2020 election among Black male voters.
- In an interview with The Atlantic, Obama said Trump’s image in rap music explains some of the appeal.
- “I have to remind myself that if you listen to rap music, it’s all about the bling, the women, the money,” Obama said.
- “A lot of rap videos are using the same measures of what it means to be successful as Donald Trump is. Everything is gold-plated. That insinuates itself and seeps into the culture.”
- Obama added that he was surprised by Trump’s rise, in part, because he doesn’t “watch a lot of TV.”
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In an interview with The Atlantic, former President Barack Obama offered a theory on why President Donald Trump improved his support among Black men in the 2020 election compared to 2016.
According to NBC’s exit poll over the past few elections, President-elect Joe Biden received the support of 80% of Black male voters, compared to 82% for Hillary Clinton in 2016 along with 95% and 87% for Obama in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
“It’s interesting—people are writing about the fact that Trump increased his support among Black men [in the 2020 presidential election], and the occasional rapper who supported Trump,” Obama said. “I have to remind myself that if you listen to rap music, it’s all about the bling, the women, the money.”
“A lot of rap videos are using the same measures of what it means to be successful as Donald Trump is,” he continued. “Everything is gold-plated. That insinuates itself and seeps into the culture.”
Recalling discussions with former First Lady Michelle Obama, the former president said their upbringing in middle class backgrounds meant they “weren’t subject day-to-day to the sense that if you don’t have this stuff then you are somehow not worthy.”
“America has always had a caste system—rich and poor, not just racially but economically—but it wasn’t in your face most of the time when I was growing up,” Obama said. “Then you start seeing Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, that sense that either you’ve got it or you’re a loser. And Donald Trump epitomizes that cultural movement that is deeply ingrained now in American culture.”
Another reason Trump’s rise caught Obama by surprise was his outsize presence on television, particularly stemming from his time hosting NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
“I think that indicates the power of television in the culture that sometimes I miss because I don’t watch a lot of TV,” Obama said. “I certainly don’t watch reality shows.”
“And sometimes I’d miss things that were phenomena. But I thought there was a shift there.”