Don’t be distracted by October’s surprise. The news that FBI Director James Comey is searching through thousands of emails from Anthony Weiner’s laptop that may — or may not — have some tenuous connection to Hillary Clinton is much ado about not much.
Tens of thousands of Clinton’s emails have already been investigated and released and the most surprising thing about the whole episode is the lack of a smoking gun. As Clinton herself has joked, her emails are mundane, even boring. Who among us could survive a leak of our emails, where we have an expectation of privacy and where we express our candid thoughts on business dealings and personal travails?
Donald Trump predictably reveled in the news, sending his mindless followers into a chorus of “lock her up,” completely oblivious to the fact that their guy faces a federal lawsuit filed by a woman who claims Trump raped her in 1994 when she was 13. A status hearing on that lawsuit is set for Dec. 16. In it, the accuser claims, “Defendant Trump initiated sexual contact with Plaintiff at four different parties. On the fourth and final sexual encounter with Defendant Trump, Defendant Trump tied Plaintiff to a bed, exposed himself to Plaintiff, and then proceeded to forcibly rape Plaintiff. During the course of this savage sexual attack, Plaintiff loudly pleaded with Defendant Trump to stop but with no effect. Defendant Trump responded to Plaintiff’s pleas by violently striking Plaintiff in the face with his open hand and screaming that he would do whatever he wanted.”
That’s not Trump’s only legal headache. He also faces a lawsuit filed by former students of his so-called Trump University, which was labeled a “lie” by its former managers. The case will probe whether Trump “knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud.”
Given all that, it makes perfect sense for the media to spend the last week of this mind boggling campaign talking about more Clinton emails and for the polls to tighten as a result. Never mind that Trump has been denounced and dismissed by most establishment Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and most recently Gen. Colin Powell. Trump’s only surrogates are an increasingly loony Rudy Giuliani and Chachi from “Happy Days.”
Regardless of what you might think of Clinton’s record, it is imperative that Trump be kept from the White House. Military experts and retired generals have openly fretted about Trump’s tiny fingers on the nuclear button. Leading economists have warned that Trump’s tax plan and spending priorities will lead us into another crippling recession and add to the national debt. Foreign policy experts fear a Trump presidency would alienate key allies, encourage nuclear proliferation and give cover to the murderous thug in the Kremlin. And on LGBT rights, the choice is equally clear.
Clinton will appoint Supreme Court justices who would uphold marriage equality. She has pledged to support the Equality Act and to end widely discredited “ex-gay” conversion therapy for minors. In addition, she has said she would expand access to HIV prevention and treatment; confront disproportionate violence facing transgender people, especially trans women of color; and continue her work as former secretary of state on international LGBT rights.
Trump, meanwhile, has pledged to immediately revoke President Obama’s executive orders, which would certainly include the order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors. That order covers about 20 percent of the entire American workforce. The thrice-married Trump has also promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Obergefell ruling. He has endorsed the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal version of the so-called “religious freedom” bills that have emerged in North Carolina and elsewhere that would legalize discrimination against LGBT Americans from coast to coast.
So don’t be distracted. Go vote for Hillary Clinton — an ally who will ensure the progress the LGBT community has seen these past eight remarkable years will not only be protected, but will grow.
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.