Vote To Save Our Democracy
There is nothing more American than free-and-fair elections.
The peaceful transition of power when incumbents lose has been the hallmark of our representative form of government since almost the beginning. When John Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson in the Election of 1800, he gracefully exited, becoming our nation’s first one-term president and setting a precedent that has stood strong for 220 years.
Donald Trump is desperately trying to change this.
With his campaign derailed by his disastrous handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the president has launched an all-out assault on the one institution that has defined this country above all else. Trump’s defeat at the ballot box is certain, as evidenced by the unprecedented early turnout this week in Georgia and Texas, so his final play is to discredit and delegitimize the election.
The Trump administration, and his allies, are going to extraordinary lengths to sow distrust in our system and disenfranchise as many Democratic voters as they can. They have fabricated the canard that mail-in voting will lead to large-scale fraud, even though all the experts -- including Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray -- agree that has never happened. They have intentionally tampered with the United States Postal Service so ballots arrive late and aren’t counted. Trump even made up a ridiculous story about ballots being tossed in a river.
It hardly stops there.
Donald Trump and Republicans are so desperate to hold on to power and extend their widely unpopular minority rule that they have launched the greatest voter suppression effort in U.S. history.
Most notably, in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott decreed two weeks ago that every county can have just one location to collect early ballots. In Harris County, home to Houston, there had been 12. In Travis County, home to Austin -- where 97 percent of eligible voters have registered -- there had been four. Both Harris and Travis counties are Democratic strongholds and had taken it upon themselves to make voting easier and more convenient.
In Florida, where residents overwhelmingly restored ex-felons’ voting rights in a direct referendum, Republicans instituted what amounts to a poll tax by requiring them to pay outstanding fines and fees before they become eligible.
In state after state, Republicans are making it more difficult for people to vote, and they are targeting communities that overwhelmingly side with Democrats. They don’t want you to vote, because when Americans exercise their rights in large numbers, Republicans lose. Every time.
Never before has there been an electorate so energized and motivated to kick a president to the curb. Witness the first day of early voting in states like Virginia, Georgia and Texas, where determined residents stood in line for several hours to cast their ballots. In Harris County, Tex., on Tuesday, an estimated 128,000 people voted.
Donald Trump does not have the will of the people, his 40 percent base notwithstanding. That much is clear. In response, he is attempting to stage what amounts to a coup d’état in the face of his inevitable defeat.
To prevent this, voters must deliver a decisive result against him. We must continue to turn out in numbers too big to manipulate. We must have the patience to stand in interminably long lines. We must have the courage to risk contracting coronavirus, and we must use their attempts to silence our voices as extra motivation to exert our indomitable will.
For all the bogus flag-waiving and claims of being the pro-America party, Trump and his supporters are as anti-American and anti-democracy as it gets. Case in point, when early voting started in Virginia a few weeks ago, Trump supporters turned out to protest. This nation’s true patriots are the people who have the willpower and discipline to stand against Trump, his Republican acolytes and their attempted hostile takeover of our government.
Over the next three weeks, every American will have the opportunity to do their small part by overcoming whatever obstacle is placed before them to perform their civic duty. And our civic duty right now is to throw Donald Trump and his spineless enablers out of office. We are not just voting for a candidate in this election. We are not just voting for a political party. We are voting to save our democracy.
And that is worth standing in line for a few hours.