How Donald Trump speaks to, and about, minorities

“We’re going to have great relationships with the Hispanics,” he said. “The Hispanics have been so incredible to me. They want jobs. Everybody wants jobs. The African Americans want jobs. If you look at what’s going on, they want jobs.”

Part of Trump’s rhetorical power is his supercharged used of “we,” a method that persuades people across the country that they are part of a larger movement, and somehow share with Trump his aura of wealthy and luxury. (It’s the same technique he’s used to sell real estate for years.) In the midst of his spiel about all the ways “we” would make America great again, Trump tossed in this passage about minorities.

His phrasing is telling. First, it suggests that for Trump, blacks and Hispanics aren’t part of “we”—“they” constitute separate groups. Perhaps that’s an accidental, unthinking division, but subconscious racial division is no less dangerous. Second, it shows him assuming that minority concerns can be reduced to economics. That view is perhaps unsurprising for a man who has spent his career trying to accumulate wealth, but it is a two-dimensional view of black and Hispanic Americans.