This week, after nearly 2 years in office, Trump’s administration has moved to undo an Obama policy from 2014 that has led to increased violence in schools across the nation and was a major factor in why the Hispanic shooter at a high school in Parkland, Florida was not identified as a serious threat prior to carrying out a massacre.
The basis for the policy is a farcical notion that although students of color are disciplined at a higher rate than white students, this cannot be explained by a higher rate of misbehavior. Therefore, the statistical disparity is attributable to racism. It in itself constitutes the proof. It’s that crazy and pretty much that simple.
It’s the kind of principle that came to define domestic policy during Obama’s 2nd term in office. This was after he didn’t need to worry about reelection and the presidency was assumed to have transitioned into a permanently blue position delivered by the Coalition of the Ascendant. It led school systems across the country to address the disparity in the only way possible, which was to discipline students of color less, no matter how serious the offense. Often, this was accompanied by financial inducements to administrators for narrowing the gap, as was the case in Parkland.
This is the sort of thing one hoped would have been eliminated by week one. All it would have taken was the stroke of a pen to get moving on, yet it took two years and a slaughter. Although, public school is an experience as unfamiliar to the Trump family as space travel, so it was probably never even on his radar.
In contrast, Obama’s 2015 enforcement policy for the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision of the 1968 Fair Housing Act was quickly targeted. It was based on a similarly insane principle: a lack of diversity in a neighborhood is the proof that racism is to blame. Federal social engineering plagued Trump’s father, who built middle class housing in NYC’s outer boroughs. That could be part of what motivated him to go into the luxury market in Manhattan.
While long overdue, this is an undeniably positive development. Too bad it’s something that’s not on the radar of a low-information voter, even if it applies to their child’s school. It’s a measure that should be taken for the sake of sanity and safety, but it won’t shift an election even if it’s good for a few votes. So, it’s a small hit in contrast to a big miss.
What’s the miss? He just banned bump stocks—a Republican President restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. It’s a concept so insane that most shrugged it off when he made comments earlier this year. Now it’s official. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
This will absolutely cost him votes from his base while gaining him none whatsoever from the other side. There’s no good reason for why this was done. Score one for David Hogg?
Gun Owners of America estimate at least half a million Americans own bump stocks. They’ll have to destroy or relinquish their property within 90 days if they don’t want to become a felon. That’s going to be an infuriating and demoralizing experience. Looking at how thin the margins were in the 2018 midterms and the key electoral states in 2016, it’s difficult to see how this won’t have a deleterious impact. How many of these people will be staying home? Easily enough to cost him a 2nd term, which he’ll only be able to secure by the thinnest of margins. This could be the decisive blunder of his presidency.