Irreparable division during a national health crisis, economic instability, countries refusing our entry, a vacant Supreme Court seat, civil upheaval provoked by irreconcilable racism, internal disrespect toward national leaders, over 200,000 lives lost to a preventable virus, an infected President flouting health directives as campaign propaganda, a country flirting with autocracy, and the proud boys on “stand-by” among shouts to #SettleforBiden2020.
Whether or not this “hot mess, inside of a dumpster fire, inside of a train wreck” will end with a change of administration is arguable at best—the damage is too great. However, we all can agree that the upcoming election certainly will determine how the country will ride out this disaster toward healing (or civil war).
Gone are the days of intelligently choosing between moderate views, where prejudice could hide behind “unintended consequences” of otherwise good intentions. This vote has serious implications for one’s moral code. Voters must decide how party allegiance or boycott of the two-party system (that facilitated this Turducken of a sh*t show) balances against the repercussions of Trump’s continued tyranny.
The following are my personal observations of how Americans are currently wrestling with Trump’s unashamed personal and opportunistic support of hate.
THOSE WHO WILL VOTE FOR TRUMP
This voter blindly follows Trump because he appeals to their irrational prejudice. They subscribe to a race-based caste system, even if it would rob them of policies from which they would directly benefit, just for the sake of depriving others. Some of them rather live life through the lens of their whiteness and ignore the reality that their rich counterparts do not care about their needs. Others scream build the wall without understanding that their taxes pay for it. Many believe Mexicans are taking their jobs when companies are moving their factories to other continents. Most sleep peacefully at night because of their whiteness, even if they are deprived of the privilege they believe it affords. Many decry Obamacare and seek refuge in the Affordable Care Act. Or worse, some enjoy every bit of their privilege with old money unapologetically laced with slave blood.
The Revised Republican
This voter has rationalized that as long as Trump stands for one of their issues, race-based violence is not a deal breaker.
Generally, I have found that traditional Republicans are those who seek to prevent others from acting in ways that are incongruous with Christianity. They render the “separation of church and state” superfluous with their policy positions. They support politicians that would corral others’ individual choice if it would offend biblical principles that those others may not have adopted for themselves. No abortions, no gay marriage, no transgender rights, no welfare handouts, no socialist government spending. They are the “single-issue voter” without a need to prioritize these “sins” because all are equal abuses of free will. A candidate who supported any of these “sins” lost this voter’s support.
Trump, however, introduces the sin of “existing while melanated” by openly encouraging harm to entire ethnicities. To support Trump, this voter implicitly creates a moral hierarchy where suppressing “choice” becomes more important than protecting a person. This voter simply ignores that one cannot choose to be white to avoid harm, making one’s safety something that can be politically bartered. Ultimately this voter lives in a perpetual state of contradiction with the true foundation of their faith because they have convinced themselves that loving thy (minority) neighbor is not the greatest commandment. They cannot adequately explain themselves without uttering the phrase “well I’m not racist” (even if Trump is) so they remain quiet in the midst of BIPOC pain.
The Blue Party Flipper
This is the Democrat that will vote for Trump and the fool that the bible instructs us not to argue with (Proverbs 26).
THOSE WHO WILL ABSTAIN FROM VOTING
The Red Abstainer
This is a Republican voter who has wrestled with their faith, and decided that loving thy neighbor requires abstaining from voting along party lines. They have BIPOC friends and family and cannot on their conscience vote for a person that will do harm to their loved ones. However, they will remain a single-issue voter in the future, having not fully explored how certain economic policies can be so nuanced as to disadvantage minorities.
The Blue Abstainer
This Democratic voter views voting as a right which they can choose not to exercise if a suitable candidate is not on the ballot. Alternatively, this individual would vote independent in protest of the two-party system. They simply do not like Joe Biden’s moderateness, or puzzlingly find Kamala Harris a poor choice such that it would diminish Biden as an otherwise tolerable candidate. It appears their vote is motivated by a self-assurance that no candidate will do other than the one that they imagine, even if Biden would do marginal good.
They make false equivalencies between Trump and Biden choosing to believe that what Biden lacks is comparable to the campaign of hate upon which Trump has built his reign of terror. In one respect, this election cycle is no different than others in that voters are ultimately forced to choose between two candidates, in an electoral process where third party candidates are only offered participation awards. Arguably the third-party candidate aligns less with this voter’s ideologies than Biden departs.
Nonetheless, this voter has not fully embraced, or simply dismisses, political reality on principle. Their abstention prioritizes the temporary satisfaction refusing to vote blue provides to the ego. We can, however, count on them to join in during future protests if Trump remains in office.
THOSE WHO WILL VOTE FOR BIDEN
The Blue Party Player
This Democratic voter will vote for Biden for the sake of the country now, but they have always voted for Biden-like candidates. Theirs is the safe vote for a candidate that makes the Republican feel comfortable. They are socially woke but fiscally conservative, with moderate views that present a road block to the ideological trajectory of the Democratic party. Their vote in this election will serve to vote Trump out, but in the future their diplomatic friction will hinder progressive agendas.
The Progressive Blue Party Player
This voter will vote for Biden even though they prefer someone more progressive. They dismiss the false premise that this is a choice between two evils; a stumbling block for many during the 2016 election. They see Biden as reticent, yet progress nonetheless. Biden is simply a hail mary for the country on the brink of a meltdown, but they will continue to push left during future primaries.
The Red Party Flipper
This Republican voter refuses to vote for Trump but takes it a step further and will vote for Biden. Abstention is not enough because they cannot on their conscience stand before God and explain why they chose to remain silent when harm is done to other human beings. They realize that abstention is only a difference of degree from silence that can led to genocide. They have not fully worked out whether voting for a Democrat means that they sanction progressive social norms. Instead, they recognize that faith is a choice and will instead lead with their discipleship instead of the rule of law (Romans 7:4-12).
LEST WE FORGET
Regardless of which voter you may be, we all can agree that Trump’s platform depends upon the mobilization of racists more scared of skin color than a global pandemic. It is true when people operate out of fear, extraordinary things can happen. An entire nation can embrace Nazism, children sleeping in cages becomes yesterday’s news, “internment” becomes politically correct, and the Constitution can memorialize race as a social construct to justify economic gain. The uncomfortable truth behind these atrocities is that those who had a chance to change the course of history either remained silent, were convinced of their insignificance, or took for granted the organization of a seemingly irrational few. Nobody wanted Trump; he lost the popular vote in 2016. If that does not move you, realize that he won key electoral votes by fewer than the number of those whom have died from COVID-19. Trump’s reelection depends on the paralysis of the intelligent voter not showing up, and for voter suppression and fear of the virus to take care of the disheartened rest. Do not be fooled—the Presidential debates were not meant to inform intelligent minds, but to magnify the cynical voice that is the enemy to change.