Ever since the release of Donald Trump’s lewd and frankly terrifying comments about groping women, the Republican candidate has been the object of an unending onslaught of negative media coverage. Ten women have come forward, including a former contestant on his reality show “The Apprentice,” accusing him of sexual assault. Five former contestants at his Miss Teen USA pageant related how he would walk into the dressing rooms of the pageant while the girls, many of whom were underage, were getting dressed in order to ogle at their naked bodies.
It’s enough to send a shudder of revulsion down my back every time I hear his name or his voice resonates from the television across my family room. The only good thing that has come of this is that Republican party candidates in Congressional and Senate elections seem to have finally come to their senses, with many repudiating his comments and several withdrawing support for his campaign.
That doesn’t mean that Donald Trump and his campaign for the presidency are imploding, much as I would like it to.
Yes, Hillary Clinton has a big lead. According to Nate Silver’s election forecast blog FiveThirtyEight, the Democratic candidate has an 88 percent chance of winning the election. She’s also ahead in several battleground states, including New Hampshire, Virginia, and seven others.
It’s tempting to read these statistics, breathe a sigh of relief, and go back to your Twitter feed. But that would be a huge mistake.
For one thing, Trump is ahead in the six remaining states. The margins are small, meaning that they could switch in Clinton’s favor – or they could stay in Trump’s lane. Polls vary widely depending on the methodology, so just because a state is predicted to go blue, doesn’t mean that that will necessarily be the case. My own state, Nevada, is for Clinton in one poll but for Trump in another.
This just goes that despite the numbers, this election is razor-close. Trump has insulted and demeaned Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans, Asians, African-Americans, and women. He mocked POWs and people with disabilities. He issued a verbal slap in the face to veterans, active duty service members, and military families when he said that owning a business was equivalent to the sacrifices of a Gold Star family. And yet he has retained the unwavering support of a significant portion of the American voting public.
You had better believe that those people will turn out to vote in droves. They believe in Trump’s delusions that our country has become a “Third World country” (probably because of all the brown faces). They want our country to go back in time, as far back as the 1900s, when women couldn’t vote.
We’ve got to fight droves with droves. As a community of people of color, marginalized groups, allies, and people who don’t want to see our country go down the drain under a Trump presidency, we need to turn out to the polls on November 8. Clinton’s advantage thus far is hypothetical; it only becomes a reality if all the people who answer those polls actually go out to vote.
If we take her victory for granted and sit back on our laurels, Trump will become president.
Trump, sadly, is not a fringe phenomenon. His ugly, racist, and misogynistic rhetoric is echoed throughout the Republican party. The representative of my district in Nevada, Joe Heck, is a prime example of this.
Heck withdrew his support of Trump in the aftermath of the video release. Up until then, he was perfectly happy supporting Trump when he was calling Mexicans rapists and saying that Muslims should be banned from the country. As it turns out, Heck apparently surrounds himself with people – including the son he raised – for whom racist and homophobic slurs are a common theme of speech. Heck is also anti-choice and anti-equal pay, and was one of the senators who allowed the government to shut down over Planned Parenthood funding.
I can guarantee that if you look at your local election ballot, you will find a Joe Heck: an anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-choice politician who will do whatever it takes to block a progressive agenda in the White House and undermine what progress has been made. They will block Supreme Court Justice nominees, shutdown the government, spend all their time voting on a law they know won’t pass, and then pass the buck elsewhere. These people do not deserve to be in office. In November, we need to show them the door. Our representatives should not be able to sit in office while they disparage and undermine the people they are paid to represent.
Even in an electoral college system, every vote counts. Your vote could be the vote that turns the tide of your state, painting it blue and securing us from the unmitigated disaster that is Donald Trump. We millennials are one of the largest generational groups in the country, trailing Baby Boomers by just points of a percent. And yet our voter turnout remains the lowest. It’s not about being “excited” about the candidates either: even in the Obama heyday of 2008, only 50 percent of millennials showed up at the polls, compared to 61 percent of Generations X’ers and 69 percent of Baby Boomers.
This election will determine the kind of country we live in for the foreseeable future, which means that it’s our job to come out, take a stand, vote, and tell the Republican party that their divisive tactics need to end if they ever want to see the inside of the Oval Office again.