As of Monday, more than 60 million Americans had already cast their vote for president, a fact that likely has President Trump nervous, as Democrats are more likely to vote early than Republicans. That figure begs the question: How many Republicans will turn out on Nov. 3? The answer may decide the race.
The good news from 2016 voting patterns is that millennials voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 55-37 percent margin. The bad news is that barely 50 percent of millennials showed up, more than eight points below the overall turnout of 58 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. Millennials continue to have the lowest voter turnout of any group. Millennials (defined as between the ages of 18-35) comprise a whopping 31 percent of the electorate — the same as the Baby Boomers. But nearly 70 percent of Boomers voted in 2016, a rate identical to their 2012 turnout. Nearly 63 percent of Gen X voters showed up in 2016.
A poll of 18-to-29 year olds released just last month by the Harvard Institute of Politics found that 63 percent said they will “definitely be voting” on Nov. 3. That’s up 16 percent from 2016, another heartening statistic. Joe Biden will need all the votes from young voters that he can get next week, as absent a blowout win — which many Democrats are whispering about but afraid to say out loud — Trump will file a barrage of legal challenges to all those mail-in votes, potentially dragging out the count as in 2000.
On Election Night, keep your eye on Florida and North Carolina. Both are purple states that allow for early counting of mail-in votes. If Biden wins Florida, Trump’s path to re-election is excruciatingly narrow. If he wins both, it’s over before Pennsylvania is even done counting.
A quick reminder: From Trump’s first day in office, when LGBTQ issues were deleted from the White House website, right up to today, when Amy Coney Barrett is poised to join the Supreme Court and provide another vote to undermine Obergefell, the attacks have been constant.
Trump’s tweet banning transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity” is the most blatant of those attacks, but there are many others. The blame for a nationwide dramatic rise in hate crimes, which disproportionately impact the LGBTQ community, lies at Trump’s feet — attacks motivated by bias or prejudice reached a 16-year high in 2018. The Trump administration has allowed discrimination under the guise of “religious freedom” across the board, from adoption agencies to faith-based schools. This administration has worked overtime to render us invisible, removing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from the list of categories the Education Department tracks in compiling data on bullying and canceling plans to include us in the Census. The administration has filed a long series of court briefs attacking LGBTQ rights, from seeking to block workplace protections for trans workers to allowing discrimination against same-sex couples seeking to foster children.
Trump opposes the Equality Act, despite originally supporting it. He named homophobe Mike Pence as his vice president, who signed a bill as Indiana governor allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ customers. He has named scores of judges hostile to LGBTQ equality to the federal bench, jeopardizing our community’s gains for years to come.
In stark contrast, Biden has vowed to make the Equality Act his top legislative priority in his first 100 days. This is an important step, as the historic Bostock ruling can be undermined by other lawsuits seeking “religious freedom” carveouts to legalize discrimination and by interpreting the ruling narrowly to allow discrimination in other areas outside of the workplace.
Biden has unveiled a comprehensive plan to advance LGBTQ rights. In addition to the Equality Act, he pledges to support international LGBTQ human rights and to ban “conversion therapy” nationwide. He vows to reappoint a special envoy to advance international LGBTQ rights, form a coalition of countries to advance international LGBTQ rights and guide the GLOBE Act into passage, as the Blade reported.
The choice for thinking people is easy: Biden-Harris will restore sanity, decency, and competence to government. So vote and let’s send Trump and his corrupt family and his hypocritical enablers to the dustbin of history.
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at [email protected].