2016 has been a very tumultuous and unforgiving election year, albeit entertaining. If you are anything like me, you feel stuck between 2 pretty dismal candidates. Their political pasts are murky to say the least, or as some would say, non-existent in the case of Trump. Needless to say, it doesn’t paint the prettiest of pictures for us, does it? No one ever wants to feel pressured to vote for one candidate solely out of the fear of their rival, but that’s exactly how many Americans feel today, a mere 8 days away from Election Day.
There’s a lot to be said about our 3rd party candidates: the Green party’s Jill Stein and the Libertarian party’s Gary Johnson; however, the power of voting for either of these candidates will likely stem from the impact it could have during the 2020 Presidential Elections. More on this later.
Let me quickly add that although I tend to have mostly liberal viewpoints and opinions; I do not favor either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I could go on for days as to why but that’s another post for another day. Realistically we’re stuck with Clinton and Trump for this presidential election but the bottom line remains the same: Donald Trump cannot become President of the United States.
Regardless of how you view this election; voting is absolutely essential for all of us, especially the LGBTQ community which has a crucial role to play. It’s no secret that Donald Trump has vowed to undo pivotal legislation for the LGBTQ community such as denying our right to marry as well as denying transgender people the right to use public restrooms based on their gender identity, as seen in his support of North Carolina – House Bill 2. But it doesn’t end there, a quick search on Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence will further add to the laundry list of extremism against the LGBTQ community. In 2009, as a member of Congress, Pence opposed federal legislation focusing on addressing and combating human rights violations against LGBTQ people overseas. Just last year as Governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law a wildly anti-LGBTQ law; The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers by refusing service to them based on the owners’ religious beliefs.
The running mates have advocated for conversion therapies, and Trump has even gone as far as pledging to sign the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) if it is approved by congress while he is president. FADA, not unlike Pence’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act; would effectively legalize discrimination against LGBT people; however, instead of exclusively focusing solely on businesses, FADA would in turn allow discrimination among employers, landlords, and healthcare providers, so long as they claim to be doing so due to their firmly held religious beliefs.
In a world where we have to fight – sometimes to the death – for the most simplest of rights, Donald Trump and Mike Pence stand to become not only a hindrance, but outright enemies to the plight of the LGBT community. On many occasions, Trump has claimed to be a friend to the LGBT community but he is anything but. I believe that it’s now more important than ever, to remember this.
As crazy as it may seem, Trump does have supporters within the LGBTQ community albeit, small. As with anything else in life, there are a myriad of reasons for this. Most believe it is due to these LGBTQ individuals being diehard Republicans and sticking to what they know; however, I happen to believe that it’s more indicative of the divisiveness and underlying racism found right here within our community. At this point I’m not sure that the reason why even matters. All that truly seems to matter this close to Election Day is everyone getting out to vote. If we do not vote and Trump is elected POTUS, we stand to watch all of our hard-fought battles fall by the wayside. Regardless of opinions surrounding President Barack Obama, let us not forget that he is the first President to openly announce his support of same-sex marriage; in 2011 he ended “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and in 2014 he signed an executive order guaranteeing the protection of transgender federal employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. President Obama has done more for LGBTQ rights than any previous president, which certainly makes him the most progressive president in American history in terms of LGBT rights.
Suffice it to say that if Trump wins the election and makes good on his word to overturn President Obama’s executive orders and the Supreme Court’s ruling for same-sex marriage, we’d woefully be back at square one. Though Trumps path to 270 is becoming severely limited, by now we all know never to say never. Of course the most important thing to do is vote. However, be sure that your vote supports your beliefs. If you support and believe in LGBT rights, the most obvious choice is to vote against Trump; though I could list a ton of other reasons to oppose Trump, unrelated to LGBT rights.
However, a vote against Trump does not necessarily equate to a vote for Hillary. Which brings me back to my earlier point: There is lots to be said about 3rd Party Candidates and their power in the 2020 race. The greatest thing about this election is that we have choices. Rather you are undecided or have your mind made up, at the end of this post you will find a link to compare all presidential candidates and where they stand on the issues.
So, what power can be harnessed by voting for a 3rd party candidate on Election Day when it comes to the 2020 elections?
Jill Stein laid it out simply via her website. 5% represents everything. If either party (Green or Libertarian) were to amass 5% of the national popular vote, it would unlock 3 major benefits:
- Qualifies the Green Party for federal funding in the 2020 presidential race proportional to the amount of votes received – likely at least $8-10 million.
- This would allow for the Green party to better compete against the nations well-known 2 party system.
- Secures ballot access in a number of states that grant ballot status as long as the candidate receives 1-5% of the vote.
- This varies by state.
- Builds a progressive electoral voice regardless of who wins the election.
Why is this important? It’s important because many Americans happen to feel stuck this election year between the two usual parties; the Democrats and the Republicans. Many of us have cried out for more options that better reflect our needs, morals, and voices. Voting 3rd party is one way to help assure that happens.
So again, if you’re anything like me, this election either has you drained or suspended in a hopeless state. At best you’re voting for the lesser of two evils and at worse you’re debating on even voting at all. The good news is that either way, your voice counts and you can be heard. If Hillary does not work for you, remember you have options. This election is bigger than any one of us. We can do it big if we do it collectively! Stay strong, stay grounded, and stay woke but either way do something beautiful with your vote!