“Luther King on steroids”: A gubernatorial candidate to Trump’s liking

Mark Robinson has denied the Holocaust, sees blacks as slaves and wants to go back to the time when women weren’t allowed to vote because the Republicans were still the progressives. And he wants to govern the US state of North Carolina. Trump praises him.

Donald Trump is hardly enthusiastic. At the beginning of March, the ex-president is campaigning in Greensboro, one of the largest cities in North Carolina. “This is Martin Luther King on steroids!” he says to the crowd. That’s how he described Mark Robinson to his employees, says Trump. Robinson, the state’s deputy governor, stands next to the stage with his wife and doesn’t know whether to take the comparison as a compliment. “You should like it because you are extraordinary and you will be the next governor,” Trump advises him. The audience cheers. But the ex-president isn’t finished yet: “The lying press will take my statement and ask: ‘Is he a racist?’ and so on, but I don’t care. People understand.”

Trump’s and Robinson’s fates are loosely linked. The designated Republican presidential candidate wants to return to the White House in November, and Robinson wants to take over the governorship of North Carolina from the Democrats. His indirect campaign help by clearly representing many of Trump’s positions is extremely welcome, which is why Trump publicly supports him. Robinson will face Democrat Josh Stein, a white man, in November. He, on the other hand, would be the state’s first black governor.

In North Carolina, a third of voters are registered as Democrats, and among black voters the figure is 76 percent. But 92 percent voted Democrat. In the state, about 70 percent identify as white and around 22 percent identify as black or African American. Robinson says: I’m American, I don’t care about the rest. “I have never been to Africa, and those who have defended my freedom did so under the US flag, not any other.” When he sought to become lieutenant governor in 2020, he defined himself in this order: first, Christian, second, American, third, conservative, and fourth, Republican.

“Don’t know who their masters are”

Donald Trump in Greensboro.

Donald Trump in Greensboro.

(Photo: REUTERS)

What could be an inclusive message against racism is surpassed by other statements. A few years ago he denied the Holocaust. “This stupidity about Hitler disarming MILLIONS of Jews and then deporting them to concentration camps is a load of nonsense,” he wrote on Facebook. He argued that blacks who voted for Democrats did not realize that they were “slaves” to whites: “They don’t know who their masters are.”

With a lot of good will, this is understandable: Black households are still economically much worse off than those of all other ethnic groups and therefore have to endure social hardships more often. But that’s probably not how it works. “People feel highly offended and highly motivated even when a black person says it,” a representative of the civil rights movement “Black Votes Matter” is quoted as saying by “The Hill.” Robinson has lamented in the past that “so many freedoms” were lost due to the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Robinson, 59, got into politics because of a video. It came about when he was upset at a Greensboro city council meeting in 2018 that a gun show should be canceled because a gunman had recently killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida. “We want to keep our rights, and with God we will keep them, whatever may come,” he says. The recording of the performance was viewed millions of times and made him famous among conservatives. On his Facebook page, he called students who advocated for stricter gun control after the massacre “spoiled little bastards.” There are also other disturbing statements: He made anti-Semitic comments, described Michelle Obama as a man and an “anti-American, abortion and gay marriage-supporting, liberal left-wing elitist.” There is even a Hitler quote about “pride for your own race”.

When he became deputy governor in 2020, he complained that public schools taught “disgraceful transgender and homosexuality” and that Christians needed to take control. When a church hoists a rainbow flag, it makes him “sick” because it “spits right in God’s face.” Robinson also supported Trump’s lies about the allegedly stolen 2020 presidential election and the clearly debunked “birther” thesis that Barack Obama was not born in the USA.

Democrats want to exploit statements

Definitely MAGA: Mark Robinson Definitely MAGA: Mark Robinson

Definitely MAGA: Mark Robinson

(Photo: AP)

According to his own statement, Robinson longs for the USA when the Republican Party still represented the more progressive positions of the North and the Democrats those of the whites in the South. It was only during the black civil rights movement that the parties’ historical change of position took place. “I absolutely want to go back to an America where women weren’t allowed to vote,” Robinson said. “Because in those days we had people who were fighting for real social change, and they were called Republicans. Because of them, women can vote today.” This is a clumsy transition to say the least. For the first sentence alone, some might label him “unelectable.”

Female voters helped US President Joe Biden win his first duel against Trump. They may have their doubts about Robinson because he is calling for a strict ban on abortion after six weeks. In a survey last year, 53 percent of women in North Carolina spoke out against the ban after 12 weeks, which is now the law there.

If Robinson scares off enough voters, it could help the Democrats win – and maybe even Biden with North Carolina’s electorate. Americans do not elect the president directly; the winner receives all the votes in the state. The loser goes away empty-handed. At the same time, voters often decide “down the ballot”, i.e. for all candidates of a party. The Democrats hope to win the presidential vote because of Robinson’s rejection. The last time North Carolina voted Democratic was in 2008, when Barack Obama took office.

Despite his lapses in content, Robinson is eloquent and presents himself as “one of you.” According to his detailed campaign video, he was the ninth of ten children and his father was a violent alcoholic. When he died, his mother supported the children as a cleaner. He himself lost two jobs, his house and his car due to the consequences of the NAFTA free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada in the 1990s. Accordingly, Robinson portrays himself as an outsider who has not been in politics since 2019 for career reasons, but because of “obvious concerns.” “We know that the prices of gas and groceries and child care are outrageous.” Robinson has even published an autobiography. The title: “We are the majority!” If that is the case, she must also vote for him in November.

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