The reports of the Trump campaign’s death are greatly exaggerated — a recent tracker poll has Donald Trump one point ahead of Hillary Clinton. The Trump campaign hasn’t imploded. It has shifted, rebranded and moved the goal posts. His rhetoric has changed: The Muslim ban is now “extreme vetting.” However, the hate, bigotry and racism are absolute constants.
Although the Republican establishment has woken up and begun to abandon Trump, he was never dependent on its support. He was always an outsider. Even before the primaries, he was shouting from the rooftops about vote rigging against him.
Ultimately, it’s the undecided swing voters who will determine the fate of America. For this reason, I, as a Muslim woman, must support Hillary. Political apathy and third-party votes will only help to pave the way to a Trump presidency. This is a risk we cannot take. The danger of our nation’s diplomacy becoming “locker-room talk” is all too real.
This election is on a knife’s edge — a landslide is unlikely. The polls in the last week alone have swung blue and then red. The number of votes for third-party candidates like Jill Stein may hold the final sway. There is no room for apathy, disinterest or “votes of conscience.” Muslims, especially women, have to understand the threat of Trump’s racism and bigotry being given legitimacy. We must, all of us, say no to Trump on November 8. The only way to effectively do this is to vote for Hillary.
Trump is relying on people being tired or apathetic toward Hillary. His campaign has not been about policies or promises. It has been a campaign of insults against Hillary, to try to shift the public’s mindset. Trump is not looking to win hearts and minds, he is looking to divide and conquer. He has succeeded in dividing the Muslim vote. Unless we re-unite, he will conquer. In the face of this, it is incumbent upon us to resist the harm that will come to all of us. The reality, the simple electoral math of it, makes it clear that only Hillary Clinton can prevent a Trump White House.
For those still in doubt, the best example is the 2000 election. Florida was decided by 537 votes, which allowed George W. Bush to become president. The fallout is still all too clear. Muslims in Florida played a big role in the Bush presidency. First, many did not vote; Muslims on average vote the least among all religious groups. This is something we need to wake up to. We need to make sure we engage and have a say in the direction of our country.
Second, many Muslims voted for third-party candidate Ralph Nader. Almost 9% of Florida Muslims voted Nader, compared with the 2% national average. The risk in 2016 is that Muslims will again support a candidate (Jill Stein) who has only 2% national support. We have to accept that there is no real chance for Stein to make a positive difference; she is not even on the ballot in all 50 states. Therefore, I say again: Muslims must support Hillary Clinton.
Anyone who is still on the fence should understand that Trump will be bad for America, terrible for Muslims and tyrannical against Muslim women, who are at double risk. They would be on a national register for being Muslim and they would be in constant danger of being “invasively inspected” under a commander-in-chief who has been recorded boasting about his sexual abuses. This should wake everyone up to the kind of monster who would be running America if elected. For at least four years.
This is a pivotal moment in American history. Trump is a threat to all the advances we have made in racial and gender equality, harmony and appreciation. His rhetoric has allowed shocking and shameful thoughts to become public. Just two years ago, it would never have been acceptable for someone to run for president while his son was on talk shows with known White supremacists. Recent history speaks for itself: In 2012, Republican front-runner Herman Cain suspended his campaign due to sexual misconduct accusations. In 2016, Donald Trump has refused to apologize — even to his wife — for what was leaked in those tapes.
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. In 2000, Florida Muslims allowed someone to be voted in who was ill prepared for the presidency. As a result, we were taken into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter being illegal according to many experts. George W. Bush had his own red flags. His presidency left us all less safe and the ill effects are still being felt. Trump has more red flags than Bush ever did. We need to learn from the past and make sure we do not doom ourselves to a worse tomorrow.
As a grandmother, I implore you: On November 8, vote with your head. Vote Hillary.