Presidential election is a choice between the bully and the ballot

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE has been escalating years of GOP rhetoric about supposedly widespread corruption that they claim is undermining the integrity of our elections. He has whipped himself and his supporters into a hyperbolic frenzy about the rigged system and rampant voter fraud that could, in his mind, cost him the presidency and thereby tear apart the fabric of America.

Voting rights do hang in the balance this Election Day. But it’s not because voters are vulnerable to some amorphous globalist conspiracy. There is precious little evidence to suggest that fraudsters have wrested the presidency from Donald Trump, or any candidate, at any level, ever. And the solution is not to cower under his democratic doomsday scenario.

What we need to do is vote. Election 2016 is a very clear choice between a bully who wants only a certain kind of voter to show up in November, and a proven leader who has pledged to right democratic wrongs and fight for the voting rights of all eligible citizens.

Donald Trump isn’t standing up for democracy when he calls into question the legitimacy of an election if it doesn’t go his way. He isn’t standing up for democracy when he tells people to“make sure everything is on the up and up” and then they turn around and promote racial profiling at best and assassination at worst. What he’s standing up for is a return to America’s dark voting past. He is promoting voter suppression, and doing so while ignoring the real challenges that we face, like voter registration modernization and the woefully overdue restoration of the Voting Rights Act. He would rather dangerously undermine the entire system than work to achieve a truly free and fair democracy.

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE has a profoundly different outlook on democracy in America. As a senator, she introduced the Count Every Vote Act with voting solutions ranging from voter verification and auditing to ending deceptive practices and re-enfranchising formerly incarcerated persons. As secretary of state, she spoke about global democratic ideals. As a presidential candidate, she is once again defending our right to cast a ballot that counts. She has called out disenfranchisement and made critical voting rights reforms a part of her vision for the future. In lengthy remarks delivered in Houston in 2015, she outlined specific solutions to get the job done. And in Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Senate panel passes amendment to bar using troops against protesters Defense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests MORE, she chose a running mate who shares her belief in the power of democratic participation.

On the future of voting rights, Americans face a stark choice: vitriolic bully? Or ballot defender? When it comes to the candidate most prepared to forge a path for real democratic reform, the answer is clear.

Jen Herrick is the senior policy analyst at People For the American Way.


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