This is the worst news for Democrats since the election was called for Donald Trump in 2016. Kanye West appears to have punched a hole in the dam holding African-American support in a reservoir, allowing American blacks to make up their own minds about President Trump instead of conforming to the expectation that "the community" must be "united" in monolithic support for the Democrats.
A poll from Reuters, conducted April 29 and released yesterday, shows a dramatic doubling of approval for the president in one week, that coincided with West's expression of support:
Overall, do you approve or disapprove about the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President?
Amber Athey of the Daily Caller writes:
Black male support for President Donald Trump doubled in just one week, according to a Reuters poll on presidential approval.
A poll taken on April 22, 2018 had Trump’s approval rating among black men at 11 percent, while the same poll on April 29, 2018 pegged the approval rating at 22 percent. It should be noted that Reuters only sampled slightly under 200 black males each week and slightly under 3,000 people overall.
Trump experienced a similar jump in approval among black people overall, spiking from 8.9 percent on April 22 to 16.5 percent on April 29.
This has the appearance of the beginning of a preference cascade, the term made famous by Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds:
The concept of the Preference Cascade is credited to Turkish economist Timur Kuran. Glenn Reynolds described the idea in a 2002 op-ed, Patriotism and Preferences.
In short, average people behave the way they think they ought to, even though that behavior might not reflect their own personal feelings. Given a sufficient "A-HA!" moment when they discover that their personal feelings are shared by a large portion of the population their behavior may change dramatically.
The folk tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" describes a preference cascade. I suspect that many African-Americans have felt intimidated over expressing, or even privately embracing wholeheartedly, their private observations that President Trump seems to be doing a pretty good job of improving the economy and addressing the international challenges facing America. Now that Kanye West, a figure widely admired and considered a leader, is openly expressing admiration for Trump, the inhibitions are starting to crumble like a dam with a crack in it.
As practically all readers of American Thinker understand, the fate of the Democratic Party is intimately tied to near-monolithic support among African-Americans. If West is not heavily punished as an example to others for his "treason," a catastrophe looms for Democrats.
Owing to West's popularity and willingness to speak out vigorously, there is some danger in trying to destroy him. On Monday, before the poll came out, Maxine Waters expressed disapproval in response to a question from Carla Marinucci, the veteran San Francisco Chronicle reporter who now works for Politico:
– "Kanye West is a very creative young man who has presented some of the most revolutionary material in the African-American community. ... But we also think that sometimes Kanye West talks out of turn and perhaps sometimes he needs some assistance in helping him to formulate some of his thoughts."
– "We don't think that he actually means to do harm, but we're not sure he really understands the impact of what he's saying, at the time that he's saying it and how that weighs on, particularly the African American community – and for young people in general. ... And I think maybe he should think twice about politics, and maybe not have so much to say."
Now that the stakes for the Democratic Party are clearer – life and death, in fact – I would expect much stronger criticism and efforts to absolutely destroy Kanye West.
I hope and pray that some Democrat – preferably a Caucasian – will use the u-word ("uppity") to try to sanction West. But even if nobody is that stupid, the term should come into use to describe the criticisms of him.