Sally Kohn is an activist, lawyer, and political commentator. The views expressed here are her own.
Donald Trump doesn’t want you to vote.
“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” an unidentified senior official with the Trump campaign told Bloomberg News in a story that ran this week on Trump’s political apparatus. The unnamed official said the Trump campaign’s explicit goal is to discourage three groups of people from voting: idealistic white liberals, young women, and Black voters.
Now, while the word “suppression” is ugly, to say the least, it’s not clear that what the Trump campaign is doing is illegal. It does, however, appear to be pretty despicable.
Trump has realised that he can’t win by playing fair. It was a long shot to begin with, but a tape revealing Trump himself on a hot mic bragging about how he sexually assaults women sank a low campaign even lower — and made Trump’s chance of victory even less likely. And so the man who clearly doesn’t like to lose has realised that if he can’t get Americans to vote for him, then he’ll try to get them not to vote at all. And if that doesn’t work either, he’ll try to convince everyone he didn’t really lose because our democratic process is rigged.
He's a sore loser, and he doesn’t plan to go down without a tantrum.
Perhaps Trump could appeal to idealistic white voters with an economic plan that does more than give major tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. Perhaps he could resonate with Black voters by talking about what to do to advance racial justice rather than perpetuating injustice by insulting Black communities. Perhaps Trump could even connect with female voters by not threatening to sue the women who have accused him of being a sexual predator. But he seems unwilling or unable to do any of these things, and so he’s trying to drive a nasty wedge between these voters and Hillary Clinton.
The Trump campaign plan calls for highlighting Clinton’s past support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to suppress idealistic white voters, emphasising sexual allegations against Bill Clinton to suppress women voters, and citing Clinton’s 1996 statement about “superpredators” to suppress Black voters. Trump is a playground bully who’s effectively saying to the American people that if they won’t join his kickball team at lunchtime, he’s going to bash them in the kneecaps so they can’t play with anyone else either. He’s a sore loser, and he doesn’t plan to go down without a tantrum.
Donald Trump’s ploys violate the core principles and spirit of our democracy. While investigations should indeed be launched into whether Trump and his campaign are doing anything illegal, the simple fact is that the election is just days away. Our response to Trump’s ugly underhandedness cannot be to whine about it like a big billionaire baby. We have to take action to stop Trump from manipulating our votes.
Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate nor a perfect person, but frankly her political and personality faults pale in comparison to the giant looming disaster that is Donald Trump.
Idealistic white liberals can take heart in the fact that Hillary Clinton has evolved her position on the TPP and other progressive economics issues in part due to listening and responding to pressure from Bernie Sanders and others. That’s the kind of responsive leadership we want.
Black voters can find comfort, not only in Clinton’s apologies for her language of the past, but in her vision for the future that includes bold action with respect to racial justice. And women can be quite sure that Bill Clinton isn’t running for president, but Donald Trump is — plus, incidentally, while doubt has been repeatedly cast on the most egregious accusations against Bill Clinton, more and more women are coming out every day with claims that Trump assaulted them.
Hillary Clinton is not a perfect candidate nor a perfect person, but frankly her political and personality faults pale in comparison to the giant looming disaster that is Donald Trump. Imagine what you would feel like if you woke up on November 9 to find that Trump was elected president and you hadn’t done everything in your power to stop it. And then imagine the reason you didn’t do anything was because he didn’t want you to — because you played right into his hands.
This entire election, the media, the political establishment and too many voters have played right into Donald Trump’s tiny little hands. Don’t join them. Vote for Hillary Clinton. And between now and Election Day on November 8, do everything you possibly can to encourage your friends, coworkers, social media peeps, and everyone you pass on the street to vote for Hillary, too.
Send a message to Donald Trump that your vote will not be suppressed. And send a message to future generations that you believe our democracy and our country are already great — and can only be made greater.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?