Tonight didn’t go the way I thought it would. It didn’t go the way that my wife, friends, or pollsters thought it would, and that’s something we should talk about. It’s not, however, what this article is about.
This article is about what comes next.
Let’s assume for a moment that the Republican nominee for president has actually won the election. Note: we assume this because not all of the states have been called (at least as of this writing), and as others have written, provisional ballots and mail-in ballots can come in after election day. All of these things can matter in a tight election. Some of you might even be holding out hope for these things. Far be it from me to kill that hope just yet. But, again, let’s put aside these incredibly unlikely options for the likeliest.
What would four years of Donald J. Trump mean for those of us who walked, prayed, and voted for Secretary Clinton? For me, there’s only one answer.
The answer that I’ve given myself – that really I’ve needed to give myself – is that there’s work to do.
I voted for an America that looked for brightness in its future ahead. I voted for an America that found its strength in its diversity – whether that diversity came through race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, or national origin.
I will fight for this America.
I will fight because as a queer woman I don’t have the privilege of another option. I will fight because I have too many friends who ― because of their religion or skin color or where they were born – aren’t welcome in Donald Trump’s America, and I will fight because I know America would be a poorer place without them. In truth though, I’ll fight because I can’t imagine the alternative.
So what comes next? What should we be fighting for?
First, fight for each other. Use whatever privilege you have and lend out some of the safety it affords you. In what can only be called a hostile environment, we have a responsibility to shield each other when we can.
Second, fight for voting rights.
In 2013, a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Shelby County v. Holder struck down important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that specifically allowed the federal government to provide oversight of states and jurisdictions with a history of disenfranchising voters. Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina were just a few of the states that have been let loose since 2013, and each of them shuttered a significant number of polling places this year. More info here.
Some of you will have noticed that these three states were also critical in Donald Trump’s electoral college count, and I wouldn’t consider that fact a coincidence.
Third, fight for democracy by pushing for an end to the electoral college system. I get it – this may seem a little beside the point. It’ll certainly incite a few strong opinions, but here’s my pitch.
Theoretically, the electoral college was a way for establishment players to keep the reins of power away from would-be demagogues with an ability to incite the populace. As this election showed, it is no longer capable of doing that.
More importantly, this system incentivizes politicians to focus their attentions on states with big electoral college payouts – think Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and North Carolina – as opposed to focusing on the needs of the nation as a whole.
A group of 11 states (with a less than stellar website) has de-facto begun the process of dismantling this system by binding their electors to vote based on the national popular vote. With some work, your state could be next.
Also, let’s not forget that there is a good chance that Donald Trump will clinch this election with Secretary Clinton winning the national popular vote.
And I think this last fact is what I’ll be holding onto for the next four years while I talk, volunteer, and generally, fight for a better outcome next time.
I’ll remember that, when it came down to it, more Americans voted for hope and decency than hate. In that way, my America isn’t so far away.