If you’re like me and decided long ago that you were not going to vote for a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, demagogic, politically-inept, orange creature, you’ve probably been looking forward to November 9 for a long time. That’s the day this horror of an election cycle is over, when we can put it all behind us and move on with our lives. Right?
Not so. Because if something goes wrong, the horror is just beginning.
And by “if something goes wrong,” I mean “if you don’t vote for Hillary Clinton.”
It is not infeasible that Donald Trump will win the election; Nate Silver’s latest predictions as of this writing show a 35% chance of a Trump victory, his odds tripling since the third debate. And yes, that does mean that Hillary still has a nearly two-out-of-three chance of becoming our president.
But there are not three chances to win an election. There is only one. It is Tuesday, November 8. And if you do not vote on or before Tuesday, November 8, you forfeit your one opportunity to influence, at minimum, the next four years of your life as an American citizen.
But the impact of a Trump presidency would last far longer than that, and not in a good way. In this election, our votes affect not just the next four years, but possibly the rest of our lives and the fate of our nation.
It’s dramatic, yes, but looking at Trump’s actions and proposed plans, it’s not a stretch. Here’s what a Trump presidency could mean for you:
He wants to build a wall on the Mexican border, which, if successful, would drastically strain the relationship between the two countries and only worsen racist attitudes toward Latinos—which Trump has already done by blanketly calling them rapists and murderers and promising to deport all 11 million illegal immigrants back to Mexico. So if you are Latino, you will be less safe in America.
He wants to ban all Muslims and Syrian refugees from entering the country for fear of terrorism, implying that all Muslims have potential to be terrorists and are inherently dangerous. This has not only increased anti-Muslim feelings toward the millions of Muslim-Americans living peacefully in the U.S., but increased anti-American sentiment from Muslims abroad. So if you are Muslim, you will be less safe in America.
He wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which, albeit flawed, has given millions of Americans access to healthcare for the first time and brought us closer to universal healthcare. He will replace it with “something great,” the details of which he has not expounded upon. So if you cannot afford healthcare and are unwilling to wait for an unspecified solution, you will be less safe in America.
He has consistently insulted women based on their appearance and has bragged about sexually assaulting them. So if you are a woman, you will be less safe in America; and if you have daughters, they will be less safe in America.
He has pledged to repeal gay marriage and been cheered for doing so. He has mocked persons with disabilities and been cheered for doing so. He has threatened political opponents, including protesters, and been cheered for doing so. So if you are in the LGBT community, are a person with disabilities, or are someone who exercises your right to free speech, you will be less safe in America.
I frankly don’t have the patience to go into his troubling foreign policy positions, his shameful dealings with employees and small businesses, his laughable plans to defeat ISIS, and more. Suffice it to say that because of these, you will be less safe.
But it’s not all bad: he wants to decrease taxes for the extremely wealthy, including himself.
Brass tacks: if you’re rich and white and ignorant and lack a moral compass, a Trump presidency will be great for you; however, if, like the overwhelming majority of Americans, you don’t meet each of those qualifications, a Trump presidency will be catastrophic. You will be less safe under Donald Trump.
That is why we can't think the election is almost over. We cannot relax just yet. If Trump wins, we could feel the ramifications for decades—generations, even. As such, it is imperative to note that voting for a third-party candidate who stands no chance of winning—or choosing to not vote at all—means one less vote went toward defeating Donald Trump.
Since we Americans are so concerned with our legacies, let’s frame this a little differently:
How will you defend your non-vote or Trump vote when you lose your job and have to choose between feeding your family or sending your sick child to the doctor?
How will you defend your non-vote or Trump vote when you fall in love with a Muslim or Latino or any other racial minority he has targeted?
How will you defend your non-vote or Trump vote when your newborn child has Down syndrome, or your teenager comes out to you as gay?
How will you defend your non-vote or Trump vote when your wife or mother or sister or daughter comes home in tears after a man, inspired by his President, has sexually assaulted her?
If you can live with those scenarios, by all means, cast your ballot for Trump or stay at home.
I could not live with that on my conscience.
The candidate I am voting for is far from perfect, and has said and done much that I disagree with. But there can be no denying that her qualifications are superior, that her temperament is tested and cool, and that her vision for this country is one of equality, freedom, and goodness. That is a vision I can and do believe in, and there is only one candidate who can deliver it: Hillary Clinton.
I understand that the divisiveness of this election has been exhausting and distressing and discouraging. I know that we are all anxious for this circus to end. I am firmly with you on that.
That’s why you need to be with her on November 8. Because if you’re made tired and scared by this election cycle, good luck surviving under President Trump.