Ralph Michaels in the Huffington Post:
Ta-Nehisi Coates calls Donald Trump "the first white President" and suggests that his election must be attributed to white supremacy. Coates has become the most influential writer in America today; this latest Atlantic essay is already being taught in college courses. So it becomes urgent forme, with help from other white commentators, to whitesplain why he is wrong.
Coates is not without talent and can certainly turn a phrase. Reading him makes it almost impossible to "make the "Lost Cause" argument for the Confederacy, which is unfortunate when you really want to do just that. Coates is perhaps the most influential black intellectual. In other words, he is pretty intellectual for a black man, but he is also unfortunately pretty black for an intellectual, and thus necessarily biased. (The problem with folk like Coates is that they cannot overcome their identity politics driven worldview position. As opposed to me, whose position is unfettered by identity.)
Coates wants to show that white backlash is the only factor behind Trump's success, the single cause. (OK, what he really says is that "the politics of race are, themselves, never attributable 'just to the politics of race.′" But I am sure that is what he means, and so I will treat it as though it was what he said.) Coates takes all white American political behavior as undifferentiated and founded on the idea of race. I object: all factors matter, not just black lives. You see, America isn't a monolith of white supremacy but rather a big, messy nation where individuals make their own choices. And if sometimes those choices happen to bring to power a man who espouses white supremacy, that really does not mean that much, does it? People are complicated. Coates cannot know that; one wonders if Coates knows even a single Trump voter or understands what drove many millions to vote for a man who — truth be told — they didn't much like. How could he? He is black! And I really wish he showed more sympathy for these poor white voters who had to hold their noses when they voted for Trump; it must have been so hard for them. (Not me ― I supported neither unfit major party candidate, which is my privilege and clearly means I cannot be blamed if either of them wins.)
You know how I know that racism is not what brought Trump to power? Because the most popular recent president or presidential candidate in America was … Barack Obama.