Obviously, millions of Americans are not going to vote Democratic today. However, there are at least five reasons why Hispanics, blacks, Jews, gays and other minorities — plus women — should vote against Republican candidates in the midterm elections, especially those of us who have voted for both Democratic and Republican candidates in the past.
First, this country needs to balance President Trump’s near-absolute powers with an opposition Congress.
Trump controls the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court. He wants to intimidate independent media into becoming Fox News-like government propaganda outlets. If he emerges victorious from his hate-mongering election strategy, he will be emboldened, becoming an even more extremist populist autocrat.
Second, in his effort to court votes from mostly white males who feel threatened by racial diversity, Trump goes out of his way to demonize immigrants and people of colour. By doing so, he has created a climate of racial animosity that has resulted in a meteoric rise in hate crimes against blacks, Jews, gays, and Hispanics, which have risen to record highs this year, according to a recent study by the NAACP.
Last weekend’s mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue – the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history – and the bombs police say a South Florida Trump supporter mailed to more than a dozen Democratic Party figures and CNN offices were not random incidents. They are a direct result of Trump’s hate speech, especially his depiction of Democrats as unpatriotic and of independent journalists as “enemies of the people.”
Remember, Trump started his 2016 presidential campaign by falsely claiming that most Mexican immigrants are “criminals” and “rapists,” and he hasn’t stopped demonizing both undocumented and legal immigrants. As president, he has said undocumented immigrants “infest our country” — language reminiscent of that used in Nazi Germany against the Jews.
He has separated Latin American immigrant children from their parents, and has placed infants in cages. In recent days, he has been lashing out against the caravan of Central American refugee seekers, claiming — without evidence — that it is full of criminals and possibly Middle Eastern terrorists.
He is also threatening to end birthright citizenship rights to children of undocumented parents. He claims – falsely – that America is being flooded by dangerous foreigners and that there are already 25 million undocumented people in the country.
In fact, the number of undocumented immigrants has fallen from 12.2 million unauthorized immigrants in 2007, to 11.3 million today, according to the Pew Research Center.
Anti-Semitic incidents rose by nearly 60 percent in 2017, according to an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) study released in February, long before the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. After last year’s anti-Semitic incidents in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which hundreds of alt-right marchers waving Nazi flags and clashed with anti-fascist protesters, Trump famously proclaimed that there were “some very fine people on both sides.”
Trump has vehemently denied being an anti-Semite, and I believe him. But in his quest for angry white voters, he has embraced a xenophobic agenda that has emboldened racists of all types.
Third, Trump’s dismantling of Obamacare has resulted in health-benefit cuts for millions of people. Hispanics, African Americans and other minorities have been among the most affected.
Fourth, Trump’s demeaning remarks about women during the campaign and his recent statements mocking the woman who accused now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault should put all women on alert. Instead of giving both sides the benefit of the doubt, Trump — who is himself being accused of having sexually abused more than a dozen women — sided wholeheartedly with Kavanaugh.
Fifth, Trump’s tax cuts have benefited mostly the rich, and his taking credit for the record low minority unemployment levels are disingenuous. In fact, U.S. unemployment has been falling steadily since 2009.
There are many more reasons to vote against Trump’s agenda, including his withdrawal from the Paris Accord on Global Warming, his embrace of the authoritarian leaders of North Korea and Russia while abandoning U.S. human-rights principles, his steadfast opposition to gun safety laws, and his counterproductive tariffs on foreign imports that are beginning to hurt the U.S. economy.
With luck, an opposition victory on Tuesday could convince Trump that his anti-immigration demagoguery didn’t work and would force him to move closer to the centre. Conversely, a Trump win on Election Day could convince him that his hate-mongering strategy was a success and move America closer to becoming a white nationalist autocracy.