Marc Lamont Hill Believes 4 Years of Trump Would Be Good for the Revolution (Video)
Marc Lamont Hill is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native whose work in academia, activism, and television has made him one of the preeminent figures of his generation. With a résumé boasting titles such as Morehouse College Distinguished Professor of African-American Studies, CNN political commentator, BET News Correspondent, and celebrated author, Mr. Hill has accomplished far more than most 37-year-olds. Serving as the current host of late-night talk show “VH1 Live,” Hill is also busy promoting his most recent book, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, which arrived July 26. For all of these reasons and more, he was a guest on today’s (August 3) episode of “The Breakfast Club,” where he dropped gem after gem about politics, racism, education, and more.
Hill’s initial statements about today’s political climate come into play at the 11:20 mark, when DJ Envy asks him to comment on his experiences at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. At this point, Hill draws some surprising parallels between Democrats and Republicans, namely that the former are beginning to look and sound more like the latter. “The DNC disappointed me because it looked like a Republican convention. The country’s just getting dragged so far to the right that the Republicans are off the map, so Democrats are moving to the center. So it seemed more progressive,” he says. But upon closer examination, there wasn’t much difference, Hill argues, between the DNC and what an RNC has looked like in the past. “[Democrats] tried to take the patriotic language that the Republicans usually use in their conferences and used it for their own. They talked about war. They talked about the economy in a way that sounded like Republicans from 2o years ago. Part of the reason it was so easy for Melania to jack Michelle Obama’s speech is because they’re all saying the same stuff.”
After likening the RNC to a “Klan convention,” Hill also has some harsh words for the Democratic Party, which he says he has trouble trusting. “Republicans are always talking about terrorism, but Democrats are playing on a certain kind of terrorism, too” he says of Democrats’ frequent use of fear in messages about how awful a Trump presidency would be (12:33). He shares that he will be voting for the Green Party in the upcoming presidential election, which elicits a conversation about the importance of a third-party candidate. After Charlamagne questions the point of voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson (“but they’re not going to win!”), Hill offers up a salient counterargument. “They’re not gonna win, I’ll concede the point. But if the differences between the two candidates aren’t vast enough, then I would rather introduce a third candidate to build a movement,” he says. And he’s got a point, which he supports when mentioning that once a candidate receives 5% of the electoral vote, they then gain entry into the debates, which then gives them a platform on which to contribute to and change the conversation.
Growing out of that discussion is Hill’s declaration that he “would rather have Trump be president for four years and build a real left-wing movement that can get us what we deserve as a people than to let Hillary be president and we stay locked in the same space where we don’t get what we want.” Not surprisingly, DJ Envy and Angela Yee are both taken aback by the statement, and Hill clarifies by saying “I don’t want Trump to be president. Let me be clear. I would rather not have Donald Trump as president, but in the big picture…every four years we say things like ‘Obama’s not perfect but we don’t want Romney, I know Kerry’s not perfect, but we don’t want Bush.’ So we keep getting these imperfect Democrats who don’t take us anywhere. I’m saying let’s start moving in a direction where we get the agenda that we want. We can afford to lose an election. We can’t afford to lose our values” (14:30).
“I think we need a revolution,” he says at the 15:02 mark. “You don’t get a revolution if people are comfortable.” His desire for a radical choice in presidential candidate is born from his position that things are not going to change at the current rate of progression, and he mentions prison reform as one such area in which a solution requires a political revolution. “We can’t break down the prison until we have a radical disruption in the status quo,” he says. “We keep saying the system is broken, and it’s not. The system works exactly the way it’s supposed to. So instead of saying ‘the system is broken, let’s fix it,’ we should be saying ‘the system is working, let’s break it.'”
Hill also shares many more powerful anecdotes, including his stint with homelessness; the trauma of seeing two of his friends get killed in front of him; his thoughts on how Barack Obama failed as President; whether Black people can be racist; and much, much more. For engaging and far-ranging looks into Hill’s work, Heads can follow him on Twitter.