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Out Dem Strategist: This Is How We Beat Trump Next Year

Voter registration

Juan Penalosa, the executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, says winning in 2020 involves one important task.

In one year, Americans will go to the polls and decide the fate of Donald Trump -- and our country. This president is the most hateful and divisive president in modern history, and in just three short years, he has put America on a path that has pushed our democracy to the edge and has begun to normalize and enable the most dangerous among us.

President Trump has rolled back protections for LGBTQ+ communities. He has stacked the courts with justices who are homophobic and openly support interpretations of the law that remove our rights. He talks about how he loves our military but bars transgender Americans from serving our country. And this president claims he wants to end HIV transmission by 2030, but also wants to ensure doctors can reject HIV-positive patients for no other reason than for falling in love with someone of the same sex.

Instead of building a coalition of supporters, the president has spent the last three years demeaning and marginalizing the very voters he needs to win. Here in Florida -- the most diverse state in the country -- with 29 electoral votes, President Trump hasn't just insulted LGBTQ+ voters in Key West, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, he called neo-Nazis and KKK members very fine people resulting in Florida's Jewish and African American communities recoiling in horror. And immigrant communities, which make up nearly a third of Florida voters, have been on the receiving end of the president's hateful rhetoric and violent policies. From his "shithole countries" remark to separating children from parents he has alienated immigrant communities, like mine.

This sounds like a damning case against the president, but if we learned anything in 2016, it's not enough to win.

If we're going to win in Florida and take back the country, we need everyone that has been harmed by Trump's policies, his broken promises, and his bigoted rhetoric to join together in a rainbow coalition to defeat this president.

President Trump has played his role in alienating and belittling key blocks of voters, but now we have to do our part to ensure we defeat him in 2020.

What does coming together to defeat Trump look like? It might surprise you, but it is about registering people to vote and having conversations about the issues that affect our communities.

Registering to vote doesn't sound like an act of resistance, but it is. Registering your friends and neighbors to vote doesn't feel like it will bring down a president, but it will. You might think knocking on doors and talking to other voters won't change anyone's mind, but you can.

We need to share our personal stories on how Trump has hurt people of color, women, transgender people, immigrants, workers, Muslims, Jews, the disabled, and the LGBTQ community, and all the other groups he has targeted.

We also need to talk to people about the president's assault on affordable healthcare, the environment and economic policies and how these policies are benefitting his donors, his family, and his friends but are leaving the rest of us behind.

And then we need to ensure they are registered to vote -- and check back with them in the coming months to make sure that they know that every single vote matters. We learned this in Florida where six elections, including governor, U.S. senator, three legislative seats and a statewide cabinet position were decided by an average of 9,000 votes.

Every day Trump's policies and rhetoric alienate more and more Americans. We can defeat him before he does even more harm to our communities, but only if we do it together.

We are one year away from making history. We can create the change we desperately need if we are willing to work together.

If you want to help register voters in Florida you can adopt a precinct and send pre-filled voter registration forms to unregistered voters by visiting or visit the website of your state Democratic party to sign up to volunteer.

Juan Penalosa is the openly gay executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. For voter assistance, call the Voter Protection Hotline: (833) VOTE-FLA or (833) 868-3352

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