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The "Don't Boo, Vote" Effect Will Take Down Trump 

The "Don't Boo, Vote" Effect Will Take Down Trump 

Voting in Miami-Dade County
Photo by Mosun Fadare from Pexels

The real evaluation of Trump's candidacy will come on Election Day.

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The election has sometimes been soul-sucking. The Ku Klux Klan enthusiastically endorsing Donald Trump was certainly a low point. Seeing posts from Trump-loving family members on Facebook is another. But these long lines of Latino voters at early voting stations have me feeling proud again.

Media reports, especially out of swing states Nevada and Florida, claim phenomenal turnout by Hispanics, who Trump has so vigorously demagogued over the last year and a half. Bloomberg Businessweekreported Monday that Miami-Dade County, where 30,000 people signed up in a last-minute voter registration drive, experienced a surge of Hispanic voters. Of the more than 700,000 votes cast so far in the county, a whopping 58 percent were by Latinos.

Then there's the story, on the last day of early voting in Nevada, of the extraordinary line at a polling place inside the Cardenas Market, a grocery store that stayed open until 10 p.m. to accommodate all the people in line.

"Looks like Trump got his wall after all. A wall of beautiful voters," tweeted Yvanna Cancela, a political director for the state's influential culinary workers union.

Voter turnout is so unprecedented that Arizona is considered up for grabs, with TheArizona Republicreporting that 13 percent of early ballots in the state were cast by Latinos. That's a huge increase over the 11 percent of the last election cycle and the 8 percent before that.

As a gay man, part of another group accustomed to being scapegoated for society's problems, I find something inspiring about any minority standing up for themselves. I want to cheer, finally. As a father to adopted daughters, both with Mexican heritage, I feel like these voters are standing up for my family. And I want to thank them, especially because they've done it without ever stooping to the level of those who did the attacking.

Let's remember back, if you can, to the first day of this mess, when Donald Trump descended his golden escalator and took to the podium at Trump Tower to proclaim that our country has a problem, and that problem is Mexicans. He called them "rapists" and drug dealers; altogether criminal.

The bigotry was at first hard to believe. Here was a candidate for president being overtly racist, and we as a country had to dust off the words to describe what was happening. At first, Trump got dismissed as merely an entertainer, in part because the media was in denial that a person so racist could win votes in 2016. That kind of behavior was supposed to be disqualifying. But it wasn't. It isn't.

Being racist and sexist and xenophobic isn't a disqualification in politics. And for cisgender, straight white voters, that was hard to believe. For the rest of us, it was vindication.

How many times have you been told that homophobia isn't to blame for a slight or a strange stare? You're just being paranoid, they'd like us to believe. Women are paid 79 cents on the dollar because of capitalism, we're told. African-Americans are incarcerated at rates much higher than whites because they deserve it, we're told, and not because of systemic racism.

When the 2016 election is over, even with a new President Clinton, we can't go quiet. We can't let the mainstream forget that racism is indeed still a problem. Homophobia hasn't disappeared with the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling. The country has progressed, but it hasn't moved on.

And as we ensure the country's eyes remain opened, let's remember this election. Even as Trump attacked Judge Gonazalo Curiel or the former Miss Universe, or kicked Jorge Ramos out of a press conference, there wasn't the corresponding story of a Latino person stooping to Trump's level.

"Don't boo, vote" was the now-famous rejoinder from President Obama during the Democratic National Convention.

So yes, I'm proud of the Latino-Americans who lined up and waited hours to vote early. What I appreciate most is how pundits are marveling at turnout by Latino voters because they didn't see it coming. Meanwhile, the Obama coalition was listening to Trump and the rhetoric he's ginned up and then waited for its moment.

"When they go low, we go high," said First Lady Michelle Obama at that same convention.

What makes me proudest is that so many people took those ideas to heart. When a black church in Mississippi was set aflame and "Vote Trump" was scrawled in white paint on the wall, right-wing conspiracy theorists suggested the perpetrators were liberals out to make Trump supporters look bad. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign raised hundreds of thousands to rebuild. When Trump's rallies descended into violence, that same right-wing echo chamber blamed liberals for somehow inciting it -- even as Trump made threats from the podium. Meanwhile, those terrible liberals took the punches and kept coming back to protest again at rallies all over the country.

The protests that happened were peaceful. Yet even when Hillary Clinton treated her supporters to a Beyonce and Jay-Z concert, Trump spent his last few speeches before Election Day portraying it as some foul-mouthed festival exemplifying the downfall of the country. That was racist, by the way. But the best way to respond is with your vote.

LUCAS GRINDLEY is the editorial director for Here Media. Contact him on Twitter @lucasgrindley.

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The "Don't Boo, Vote" Effect Will Take Down Trump 

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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.