Hate is on the ballot this week. On Tuesday, November 6, Americans will vote in one of the most important midterm elections in contemporary history, and decide several key political races in the country. In particular, Democrats hope to win back the House of Representatives. If they are able to do this, the hope is, they will be able to slow down President Donald Trump’s racist agenda and check his power, at last.
While always important, a spotlight has been placed on this year’s elections given the rise of violence, hate crimes, and racist rhetoric propagated by President Donald Trump, the Republican party, and its supporters. While hate has been on the rise since Trump was elected, this month has been particularly filled with violent, racist acts and speech. On October 26, a man killed one black man and one black woman at a grocery store in Kentucky, in a shooting that is being investigated as a hate crime. On October 27, another man murdered eleven worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue while spewing anti-Semitic vitriol. During the very last weeks of October, a diehard Trump supporter mailed out pipe bombs to prominent Democrats across the country. Only a few days before November 6, anti-Semitic graffiti was found inside a Brooklyn synagogue that was going to be used for a political/voting event that night.
Many have rightly blamed President Donald Trump’s fear mongering and racist comments for these attacks. Indeed, xenophobic, racist, and Islamophobic speech has been a defining aspect of the Trump administration, reaching an apex in response to the migrant caravan headed towards the Mexican-U.S. border. Attempting to flame the fans of hate, on October 22, Trump made the audacious and ridiculous claim that “Middle Easterners” were among those traveling to the border, using “Middle Easterners” as a euphemism for terrorists.
Thankfully, those opposed to Trump’s hate speech are dedicated to doing something about it. In the wake of the anti-Semitic attack in Pittsburgh, Jewish activists have been urging people to vote in the upcoming elections. And even though more candidates have been using anti-Muslim rhetoric in these midterm elections than ever before, Rashida Tlaib (D – MI) and Ilhan Omar (D – MN) are both projected to be the country’s first Muslim congresswomen.
It is important to note, however, that while voting is important, many American minorities face voter suppression, lack the ability or time to get to the voting booth, or have had the power of their vote diluted by racist gerrymandering. For those who hope to see Trump’s racism crushed by a “blue wave,” it is important to support these groups, in particular, by supporting minority candidates, helping minority voters get to the polls, and otherwise ensuring that your vote is used to ensure groups being attacked and marginalized by Trump are empowered to fight back.