Tuesday, the American people will go to the polls in what will be one of the most important elections in recent history.
This election defines who we are as Americans, inclusive of all or divisive and tribal. The Trump campaign has unleashed hate and vitriol against just about every community of color including Muslims. Muslims have been vilified more than most this election cycle and it has moved voters for the most part to vote for Hillary Clinton.
However, a substantial portion of Muslims, like many in the progressive and African American community, have not had the enthusiasm they did during the two Obama races for the White House. Those who voice concern about Hillary Clinton have focused on her as being hawkish or untrustworthy.
Consequently, large numbers of Muslims, African Americans, millennials, and progressives will be principled and vote for third party candidates or abstain. However, the reality is in swing states like Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, a third party vote or abstaining is not principled, it is selfish. Those who do so ignore the very real dangers that efforts toward a diverse and inclusive America face under a Trump presidency.
Minorities and progressives voting Stein or abstaining because they think it is the principled way out of an election filled with vitriol are simply empowering Trump. Conservatives who vote Johnson because they cannot stomach voting for Trump are in effect still voting for Trump. Remember the 2000 Presidential race and the 537 votes that chose a President. Every vote matters. There is nothing noble about voting for your conscious when you know it can lead to a greater collective harm. It is a guiltless way of washing our hands of our social and civic responsibilities.
The xenophobic, anti-women and Islamophobic forces behind the incredible rise of Trump are much bigger than Trump himself — forces which were defeated by the highest American ideals will become empowered again if Trump wins. This is an election where we must rise above our egotistical impulses and put the collective ahead of ourselves — that means coming out on Nov. 8 and voting for Hillary Clinton. That vote is for you and what you want our legacy of America to stand for.
Khurrum Wahid, partner, Wahid Vizcaino LLP, and co-chair of Emerge USA