Voting in 2020 | Akashdiya Chakraborty

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Trump isn’t any stranger to a good old fashioned scandal —  from multiple allegations of sexual assault to the revelation that he pays next to no taxes, to the numerous links between Russia and the Trump campaign that serve as evidence of collusion with the Russians during the 2016 election. Despite the endless list of misdemeanors that he should be held responsible for, Trump has somehow found a crowd of people who will follow him regardless of what he says or does. 

 

Election day is coming soon, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been so worried about the future of our country.

In 2016, I never thought Trump would win the election; it came as a complete surprise to me and everyone around me. When he announced that he was running for president, I remember my history teacher at the time laughing at how ridiculous the whole thing was — but it stopped being funny by the time Trump had become the Republican nominee. His campaign, full of absurd promises like ‘building a wall’ between the U.S. and Mexico, and ‘Making America Great Again’ was a joke, but we were the punchline.

The past four years have been one bad policy decision after the other, from trapping immigrant children in detention camps to starting and then losing a trade war with China to having the worst Covid-19 response of any country in the world. Trump’s administration has created a series of xenophobic laws that have hurt people of color throughout America in so many different ways- and his racist rhetoric has a serious impact on communities of color. A study showed that Donald Trump’s election has coincided with a significant spike in hate crimes across the country- and counties, where Trump won by large margins in the 2016 elections, have experienced the largest spike [1]. He’s specifically been known for his hateful rhetoric against immigrants from Latin America- and when surveyed, research finds that Republicans who claim that America risks losing its identity if it is too open to immigrants has dramatically risen during the Trump presidency [2]. The scary thing is that Trump isn’t simply representing what the people think- he’s the one telling them what to believe.

Besides the damage done to immigrants and communities of color, Trump has led an administration that has created an assortment of legislation harmful to women, limiting access to birth control and abortion by targeting ACA’s coverage, working against efforts to ensure women and men get equal pay in the workplace, and weakening title IX’s ability to prosecute sexual assault — though I suppose that’s not much of a surprise. Looking at Trump’s moral character, I find it astonishing that he has gotten away with so much. This is a man who has repeatedly been accused of sexual assault and was caught saying that he wanted to “grab them by the p****” while referring to women on the Hollywood Access tapes. Not only is he an untrustworthy politician, but he’s repeatedly shown that he’s a dishonest person. Despite his continuous predatory behavior, Trump has faced no consequences. The bar is set so low for him. When I think about the scrutiny, Barack Obama underwent after receiving false allegations of not being a US citizen, or the lash back against Hillary Clinton after her careless handling of sensitive information in emails, I realize how far the double standards between white men and other politicians reach. Why was Obama harassed for a rumor that was so obviously false? Why were the Clinton emails so harmful to Hillary’s chances of winning the 2016 election when at the same time Trump was facing 26 allegations of sexual harassment, something that had next to no impact on his voters?

Trump isn’t any stranger to a good old fashioned scandal —  from multiple allegations of sexual assault to the revelation that he pays next to no taxes, to the numerous links between Russia and the Trump campaign that serve as evidence of collusion with the Russians during the 2016 election. Despite the endless list of misdemeanors that he should be held responsible for, Trump has somehow found a crowd of people who will follow him regardless of what he says or does.

Even Trump himself has acknowledged how loyal his followers are, claiming that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose any voters [3]. That unyielding support isn’t loyalty- it’s blind worship, and poses a serious threat to our country. The voters are the ones who are supposed to hold the president accountable- and if this check on presidential power disappears, then the role Trump plays becomes a thin line between president and dictator.

I couldn’t imagine Donald Trump as president in 2016, and I’m scared to imagine having to spend another four years with him as our president.

This is the first year I have the ability to vote in the presidential election- and I plan to take full advantage of that in order to get this man out of office. To Bernie supporters, who don’t like Biden, but prefer him to Trump: don’t use this election to take a moral stand. Vote, if not for Biden, then against Trump. To anybody who believes that their vote doesn’t matter: every vote counts, and if you want change, it’s crucial to cast your ballot. To any young voters who don’t follow politics, who think that they don’t matter: the White House can seem so far away, yet the policies made in D.C. will have an impact on your life, and now is a more crucial time than ever to vote.

It’s crucial to register to vote and cast a ballot come election day —  you can also vote early, or vote through the mail. Regardless of how you choose to do so, voting is the only way that the people of America can hold Trump accountable for his actions; voting against Trump is the only way to truly, as our president would put it, ‘Make America Great Again.’

 

[1] Edwards, Griffin Sims, and Stephen Rushin. “The Effect of President Trump’s Election on Hate Crimes.” SSRN, 18 Jan. 2018, papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3102652.

[2] Brockway, Claire, and Carroll Doherty. “Growing Share of Republicans Say U.S. Risks Losing Its Identity If It Is Too Open to Foreigners.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 18 Aug. 2020, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/07/17/growing-share-of-republicans-say-u-s-risks-losing-its-identity-if-it-is-too-open-to-foreigners/?utm_source=AdaptiveMailer.

[3] Dwyer, Colin. “Donald Trump: ‘I Could … Shoot Somebody, And I Wouldn’t Lose Any Voters’.” NPR, NPR, 23 Jan. 2016, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/23/464129029/donald-trump-i-could-shoot-somebody-and-i-wouldnt-lose-any-voters.

 

Akashdiya Chakraborty is a freshman studying biology at Georgetown University. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and has an avid interest in public policy and social issues, with a background in speech and debate. She likes drinking too much coffee and petting her dog.

 

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