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."This morning, as you probably know, Trump lashed out at Lewis on Twitter:
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.
Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2017
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
But I want to direct your attention to some information about Lewis's district, which points to a larger problem in America:
By the way, John Lewis represents a majority-black district where 88% of adults have high school diplomas and 41% have college degrees. pic.twitter.com/R17EmvMn8c— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 14, 2017
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:
Hardly the most egregious part of the Trump tweet, but Lewis represents the nicest parts of Atlanta. Black congressman does not = slumlord.— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 14, 2017
People need to get out of their bubble and meet working-class black Americans, whose candidate won the popular vote. https://t.co/pkRDjKNoFe— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 14, 2017
BTW I only think the popular vote in 2016 matters bc it complicates the “which party is in touch with America” Q. https://t.co/krGQhgXVfb— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 14, 2017
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.