When one of the most fervent critics of the American political system encourages people to not only vote, but to vote to prevent a certain candidate, it means something.
"I am going to the polls next month and I am going to vote AGAINST Donald Trump,” said Davis while addressing attendees at the Black Matters: The Future of Black Scholarship and Activism conference at the University of Texas, Austin.
"I have serious problems with the other candidate, but I am not so narcissistic to say I cannot bring myself to vote for her,” said Davis, who caught criticism as well for her endorsement of Barack Obama for president.
The "her" she is referring to is Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The comments sent the internet into a frenzy, with some questioning Davis’ motives and others defending her and her legacy. The Root’s Kirsten West Savali wrote specifically to the controversy, stating that “she did not say she was ‘with her’; she said that she was ‘with us.’" The '"us," being specifically black people but, by extension, all who seek liberation from oppressive, white supremacist structures.
The notion that people must participate in the process despite feeling disconnected from either candidate is not new, but what Davis is saying is that in order to continue the work towards the ultimate goals, Trump is not an option.
In fact, Davis went on to say in a later speech at the Many Rivers to Cross Festival that what the country truly needs is a new political party that doesn't resemble either the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party. Davis elaborated:
"So I think we need a new party. I think we have to start imagining and building a political party that is not linked to the capitalist corporations; a party that is feminist; a party that is anti-racist; a party that is opposed to the occupation of Palestine by the state of Israel; a party that will represent the true needs of the people not only of this country but the people of the world."
Although it’s not a political party, the coalition movement for black lives has created a comprehensive policy platform addresses the many needs of African-Americans and other marginalized groups.
But as Black Lives Matter and other Movement for Black Lives coalition groups have stated, a political party is not the goal yet, though representatives lobbied this year to help put their policy platform into action.
Until then, Davis says there is really only one decision, and it’s to stop Donald Trump. But that doesn’t mean that Clinton, or the Democratic party are off the hook.