In the hopes of breaking our current political system, Jason Haap has made the suggestion that liberals consider voting for Donald Trump in the November election as a means of sending the United States to its tipping point. His theory is that in order for the country to achieve long-term political health, we must hit rock-bottom- a rock bottom that would consist of four years of a Donald Trump presidency. According to Jason’s theory, this rock-bottom could split our two-party system and ultimately alleviate our current political gridlock. He calls this “playing the long game.” I am vehemently against this strategy, and I encourage other liberals to be as well.
We have all seen it. None of us can for sure say what a Donald Trump presidency would look like, but his candidacy alone has legitimized and further empowered bigots and white supremacists everywhere. People have begun to follow Trump’s lead and step out of the shadows, declaring their irritation with “PC culture” and devaluing the lives and existences of minorities. They were there all along, living in a society built upon white supremacy and designed for their benefit, but to legitimize their ideologies and increase their power by electing Trump would represent a regression for people of color in the United States the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the institution of Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws.
If this country elects Donald Trump, we will be subjecting people of color to dangers white people have never truly had to consider. We already live in a country where racial profiling prevents men of color from being able to sell CDs and cigarettes or be pulled over for traffic stops without being murdered by police officers and from speaking on the phone in another language without someone calling 9-1-1. This country is already filled with oppression, and it is my belief that to elect Donald Trump would be to ensure that black, Muslim, and Latino lives would matter even less than they already do.
I think that Jason and I agree that Trump’s ideologies are dangerous to minorities, but where we differ is in our opinions regarding the “long game” he advocates. I refuse to believe that this “long game” strategy of electing Trump is the only way to bring about effective political change in the United States, and I cannot accept that it is in any way moral to do so.
Simply by being born, people of color face challenges and oppression that white people cannot understand. We do not ask for these struggles; they are thrust upon us as members of the minority, and we deal with them the best we can. Those struggles would increase if this country elected Donald Trump as president, and people of color would be exposed to a level of hate, violence, and oppression that is unprecedented in this millennium.
Voters, particularly white voters, do not have the right to make this decision for people of color in this country. In this “long game” white people will not be the victims of the oppression that follows the election of Donald Trump, and they won’t be the martyrs for the change that only might come about. White people will have the luxury to watch comfortably as the system falls apart while other people sacrifice their lives and well-being for a cause that is not even guaranteed to be effective. No one has the right to inflict this danger upon other people, and those knowingly do so become as bad as, if not worse than the oppressor. It is wrong to tell the oppressed to endanger themselves for the benefit of a country that already places less value on their lives than the lives of members of the majority.
The responsibility of white voters in this tumultuous election season is to continue to fight for what is right. Call out oppression where you see it, and continue to advocate for change in any way you can. But you have no right to start a game where you play the game master and the pawns will be people that are already oppressed.
As for me, I cannot vote for Trump under any circumstances. The lives of my father, my brothers, and all my family members may matter less to the police, the politicians, and Trump and his supporters, but they matter more than anything else in the world to me. If the lives of people of color matter to you, then you won’t cast your vote for Donald Trump either.
[The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition doesn’t endorse political candidates. The views expressed in this op-ed are the authors.]