Connect with us

News

For LGBT Voters, Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher In 2016 Presidential Race

Published

on

Trump Victory Would Threaten Movement’s Progress Under Obama

The 2016 presidential election is a high-stakes affair. Much of the progress made by the equal rights movement over the last eight years will likely be reversed if Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. Anyone who cares about the rights of LGBT people must vote for Hillary Clinton.

The difference between the candidates for president could not be more stark. Clinton has been an outspoken advocate for equal rights. She has pledged to protect and extend the gains we have made. She knows that LGBT rights are human rights.

Trump, on the other hand, has secured the support of Christian evangelicals and other homophobes by pledging to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will reverse marriage equality and the other gains we have made through the federal courts. In addition, he has chosen as his running mate one of the most virulently anti-gay politicians in the country, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.Â

The Historic Election of 2012

To understand the context of the 2016 presidential election, and its crucial significance for the equal rights movement, we need to remember the historic election of 2012. The 2012 election was a significant turning point for the equal rights movement. Not only did the country re-elect as president of the United States an outspoken and unapologetic supporter of LGBT rights, including marriage equality, but also openly gay and lesbian candidates were elected to Congress and to state legislatures across the country, including the first out lesbian U.S. senator.

Writing in Out, Richard Socarides described the 2012 general election  as “The Gay-Rights Election.” He pointed out that “President Obama’s support for marriage equality helped him win the election and helped us win the ballot initiatives. During this latest campaign, President Obama’s support for gay-rights … worked to his advantage to energize progressives and young people.”

Socarides observed that as long as he has been in politics, it had been received wisdom that “gay issues are dangerous and only mean trouble for elected officials, even ones who are sympathetic to our cause. It is now a new day — one that has been a long time in coming. Politicians need to recognize that their embrace of us is not only the right thing to do, but leads to success at the ballot box.”

In 2012, Obama won a narrow but decisive victory, sweeping the battleground states and winning in excess of 300 electoral college votes. Facing the prospect of being vastly outspent by Republican superpacs, the Obama campaign made an early decision to concentrate on a handful of battleground states that could lead to the magic number of 270 votes in the electoral college.

In effect, the 2012 presidential campaign was a competition for the electoral college votes of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and, above all, Ohio. The president won all of them except North Carolina and Florida.

In winning his victory, the President crafted a coalition of key constituencies: African-American, Hispanic, Jewish, Asian, LGBT, women and younger voters. All groups in the President’s coalition were necessary. For example, had the African-American vote or the women’s vote or even the smaller Asian-American demographic been depressed, he likely could not have won.

Although mainstream journalists did not emphasize the fact, the LGBT support was also crucial. It is important to stress this point because many pundits thought that when the president “evolved” to support same-sex marriage, he endangered his prospects for re-election. They thought his support for same-sex marriage would alienate potential supporters who were opposed to marriage equality. But the President did not shy away from his support for equal rights. He constantly reminded the nation of the promises he had made and kept to his LGBT constituency.

His campaign also showcased LGBT supporters of the president and what his support meant to them.

As it turned out, rather than hurting his prospects, the president’s steadfast support of LGBT rights helped him to victory. Not only did he receive considerable financial support from LGBT donors, but exit polling suggested that record numbers of gay men and lesbians showed up at the polls and that we represented 5 percent of the total electorate, with 77 percent of us supporting President Obama.

Strong support from LGBT voters put the president over the top in the popular vote and probably made the difference between victory and defeat in several swing states. President Obama’s support for gay rights may well have assured his re-election.

His re-election, and the triumphs of openly gay candidates, coupled with the ratification of marriage equality in four states, gave hope that the nation had taken a step toward accepting the proposition that LGBT people deserve equal rights under the law.

The re-election of President Obama meant that, for at least four years, there would be no return of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no repeal of the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, no intervention by a right-wing Justice Department to defend the Defense of Marriage Act at the U.S. Supreme Court, no revocation of executive orders requiring that same-sex partners be allowed hospital visitation rights, no relaxation of the Department of Education’s anti-bullying guidelines, no end to the State Department’s important support for LGBT rights abroad, and no retreat from the goal of equal protection.

The 2016 Election

But all of those gains, and the others added by President Obama and the United States Supreme Court in the last four years — including marriage equality (thanks to a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling), the executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by federal contractors, the regulations issued by the Department of Defense incorporating sexual orientation and gender identity into the military’s nondiscrimination policy, the guidance promulgated by the Department of Education protecting transgender students, the recent rulings of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finding that sexual orientation and gender identity are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and others — are imperiled by the possibility of a Trump presidency.

Unlike in 2012, LGBT issues have not been at the forefront of the presidential campaign in 2016. Notwithstanding the GOP’s horrific anti-LGBT platform, written with Trump’s acquiescence by Tony Perkins of the hate group Family Research Council, adopted overwhelmingly by the Republicans at their convention, LGBT people have not been demonized by mainstream Republicans to the same extent that we have been in past campaigns.

Indeed, in a campaign in which Trump and his supporters have so often made ethnic and racial slurs, denigrated women and mocked the disabled, it is remarkable that there have been relatively few slurs directed at the LGBT communities. However, that does not mean that the anti-LGBT supporters of Trump have not demanded (and received) a promise to roll back the gains we have made as the price of their support.

In fact, opponents of equal rights realize that their antipathy for LGBT people is now a decidedly minority position, at least in the country at large. They know that they can no longer expect to succeed through a national campaign that becomes a referendum on LGBT rights or in which they attack us directly.

Consequently, they now attack our rights more covertly. They use code words such as “religious liberty” and strategic endorsements to advance their agenda of discrimination and hatred, an agenda that Trump has implicitly endorsed in his promise to allow anti-gay hate groups to dictate his Supreme Court appointments and his frequent references to “religious liberty” when campaigning in the South.

Moreover, in his choice of his running mate, Trump strongly affirmed his commitment to the religious right.

Pence is a fervent cultural warrior, whose anti-gay positions have included opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Matthew Shepard-James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, and both civil unions and marriage for same-sex couples. He continues to support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

In 2015, Pence created a national furor when he signed into law a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” that licensed discrimination against LGBT people. Only after protests and threats from businesses to relocate from Indiana did he sign an amendment that diluted the bill’s power to discriminate.

Contrasting Candidates

Clinton is undoubtedly the most qualified and best prepared candidate for president of the United States in living memory. She has a distinguished record of public service. Not only does she understand issues and is committed to equal rights, but she also possesses the temperament to provide the kind of steady leadership necessary in a tumultuous and dangerous world.

In a recent interview with the Washington Blade‘s Chris Johnson, Clinton pledged to build a “hopeful, inclusive America where everyone counts.”

“We have so much more work to do, and I want LGBT people in every corner of this country to know that as president, I will always have your back,” Clinton said.

“As president, I’ll make fighting discrimination against the LGBT community a top priority — including by working with Congress to pass the Equality Act,” Clinton added. “And we won’t stop there. We’ll also take on harassment, bullying, and violence — and youth homelessness, which disproportionately hurts LGBT kids.”

She also committed to veto the “First Amendment Defense Act,” a pernicious “religious freedom” bill pushed by Christian conservatives that would permit discrimination against LGBT citizens, should it pass Congress.

In contrast to the thoughtful and fair-minded Clinton, Donald Trump is an unstable narcissist who has appealed to the very worst instincts of the American people. He has demeaned the office he seeks by his incivility and insults. He has surrounded himself with fascists and racists. He is a bully, a sexual predator and a habitual liar.

A promoter of birtherism and a host of other crackpot conspiracy theories, he has mainstreamed the hatred and misinformation perpetuated by right-wing radio.

Giving us a glimpse of the tin-pot dictator he would like to be, he has threatened the press and promised to jail his political opponents. He has no appreciation of the bedrock principles of our democracy.

His domestic and foreign policies are incoherent and dangerous. His election would likely precipitate a financial collapse and would undermine the stability of American alliances around the world. No wonder his campaign has received so much aid from Russia.

As President Obama has remarked, everything we stand for is at stake. Tolerance is on the ballot.

As Hillary Clinton’s openly gay campaign manager, Robby Mook, has recently observed, every vote matters.

Hillary Clinton knows that the fight for equal rights is not over.

Clinton ends her campaign on a positive note with an appeal to young voters, one of whom says he is voting against hate.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Trump ‘Is Much Stranger Than Any Diagnostic Category’: Psychology Professor Says He Is Not ‘Like Other Dictators’

Published

on

President Donald Trump’s unique personality and mental habits make it hard for mental health professionals to categorize him.

The American Psychiatric Association pushes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Currently, in its fifth edition, the book is known as DSM-5.

Dan P. McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, was interviewed by Dinesh Sharma, Ph.D. for Psychology Today.

“Without putting the president on the couch, are you willing to say he has a ‘personality disorder’ as in the DSM classifications?” Sharma asked.

“I do not find the clinical categories of the DSM all that useful in explaining how a person has come to be and in making sense of a person’s life, including President Trump. He is much stranger than any diagnostic category can convey, in my opinion,” McAdams replied.

“There is no diagnostic label that captures his unique blend of attributes and orientations,” he explained. “Among the most interesting features of Trump’s inimitable personality are (1) his peculiar form of extraversion-based charisma, (2) his startling lack of an animating life narrative in his own mind to make sense of who he is and how he came to be, and (3) his belief, shared unconsciously by a percentage of his supporters, that he is not ‘a person’ – he is more than a person, like a superhero, like a primal or mythic force, but less than a person, too, in that he is not held morally accountable in the same way that other persons are. I am not speaking metaphorically.”

McAdams explained how Trump views each day.

“He wakes up every morning ready to do battle with his enemies, and he wins by developing tactics that are unprecedented and completely audacious. He did this in the real estate industry in the 1980s, and he does it today. Because he has no story for his life in his own head, Mr. Trump approaches each day as a new episode, with a new battle to win,” he said. “All that matters is winning the episode. The episodes do not build from one to the next. There is no narrative flow to Donald Trump’s life, at least not in his own head.”

“This is why he is able to lie with such shameless abandon, and why he is unpredictable from one moment to the next. All tactics, no strategy,” McAdams explained. “Each day is a different battle, ending in victory or defeat. The days do not add up. This is not a long-term war with a cumulative plot. It is, instead, a series of one-off skirmishes, one after the other, day after day after day. This is how he has always lived. And now we are living it with him.”

“Do you think the president reflects the times we are in globally, in which dictatorial strongmen are able to get people’s votes in a populist wave? We see this in the EU, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. So might he be a reflection of the times where globalization has failed people significantly?” Sharma asked.

“Yes, I believe this is probably true. But President Trump is still a one-off. He is not fully like other dictators, either. And I am not sure he can be replicated,” he replied.

McAdams is the author of the forthcoming book The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning.

Continue Reading

News

Trump Threatens FBI Director for Telling the Truth About Inspector General Report

Published

on

President Donald Trump is threatening the job of his hand-picked FBI director, Christopher Wray, for telling the truth about Monday’s Inspector General report. That report found zero evidence of spying on the Trump campaign by the Obama administration or any intelligence agency, and found there was no anti-Trump bias in the opening of the Russia probe, which included an investigation into Trump and his campaign.

Wray in an interview made statements affirming those facts, and defended the FBI and its dedicated employees, an act of courage in the Trump administration. Trump has been attacking the FBI as a whole and singling out some of its employees for years with horrific attacks.

On Tuesday President Trump added Director Wray’s name to that hit list.

 

 

Continue Reading

News

DOJ Inspector General’s Report Released Today Finds Trump ‘Wire Tap’ Claim a Lie and No Evidence of Bias in Russia Probe

Published

on

The Department of Justice’s Inspector General on Monday has just released a report already sent to some lawmakers that finds the DOJ had substantial reason to open its investigation into Russia’s attack on the U.S. 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s 2017 claim President Barack Obama wiretapped him to be a lie.

“The inspector general concludes that the FBI had an ‘authorized purpose’ to initiate the investigation,” The Washington Post reports. The IG’s report destroys attacks on the FBI and DOJ by President Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives, lies that trickled down into the mainstream of conservative thought.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) “said the inspector general had ‘completely demolished’ some of conservatives’ assertions about the origins of the probe, though his investigators did find some problems.”

Here was Trump in May of 2017, two months after lying about Obama wiretapping him, unable to make his case to CBS’ John Dickerson.

In September of 2017 the DOJ admitted in court filings that there was no evidence Trump’s claim Obama wiretapped him was true.

RELATED STORIES:

Top MAGA Congressman Mocked for ‘Threatening to Retroactively Impeach Obama’

More Than Two Years After Trump Claimed ‘Obama Had My Wires Tapped’ a Soon-to-Be Released DOJ Report Will Debunk That Lie

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 AlterNet Media.