Not all liberal voters are with Hillary Clinton. A prolonged primary against a more progressive candidate, plus the two email scandals – her own and that of the DNC – have left many left leaning voters floating the idea of a protest vote. Many LGBTQ voters still don’t see Clinton as a true ally, usually pointing to the fact that it took her until 2013 to support same-sex marriage as their main example.
While a protest vote against Clinton and the Democratic Party may feel good, and may even be somewhat justified, what are the practical implications? Clearly, it helps Donald Trump, a man who is still against same-sex marriage, for RFRA laws and for anti-transgender laws like HB2 in North Carolina.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might want to be hashtag “Girl, I guess I’m with her,” even if you’re in a solidly red or blue state, where the electoral votes seem all but already counted.
1: Repudiate Donald Trump And His Rhetoric
Want your vote to send a clear message of protest? Who better to protest this election cycle than Donald Trump? It is a stain on our nation that we have allowed a bloviating, fear-mongering, bigoted bully ascend this high. We can and must do better. We can start moving in a more positive direction, and showing the rest of the world that this man does not speak for us, by handing him an embarrassing large defeat at the polls.
Let’s also send a clear message to those who plan to run for president in the future that the politics of fear and division are no longer a workable playbook.
Let’s show that are values are still against the bully who mocks the disabled, assumes any woman who dare cross him must be “on the rag,” calls for banning practitioners of a religion from our country and putting those already here to register to be put on a database, encourages violence at his rallies, and suggests his political opponent could be assassinated in order to stop her Supreme Court picks.
Run and protest that in November.
2. Sometimes The Polls, Pollsters and Pundits Get It Wrong
While polling is the best tool we have to measure likely election outcomes, it is not an exact science. In fact, polling is becoming harder to do accurately.
In a recent article for the Los Angeles Times, Urban Institute’s chief methodologist, and vice president of the American Statistical Association, Rob Santos explains why polling participation rates have plummeted over the years.
Thirty years ago, polling in the United States was simple. Most homes had land-line telephones, most people at home actually answered the phone and more than 70% were willing to participate. Polling life was sweet; it was easy to find a representative sample of likely voters.
Like all boom times, a bust was just on the horizon. The new millennium arrived, introducing a renaissance of new technologies (cellphones, the Internet) and lifestyles (social media, crowdsourcing). Younger adults embraced new ways of consuming and sharing information. Americans as a whole decided they were too busy to answer survey requests and became more wary of strangers asking probing questions. Polling participation rates plummeted to single digits.
We need look no further than this year’s primaries to see examples of the polls getting it wrong.
The pollsters and the pundits, even the usually reliable and oft lauded Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight website, told us Trump didn’t stand a chance at winning the Republican nomination. Yet he won upset after upset, until he was the last man standing in a crowded field.
Clinton, on the other hand, was expected to walk away with the Democratic nomination with barely a fight. Yet upset victories by Sanders in states like Michigan and Indiana kept him in the race much longer than anyone would have initially predicted.
It’s getting to the point where polls may soon have to start carrying disclaimers similar to horoscopes: For entertainment purposes only. Okay, maybe not, but we certainly cannot rely on them to always get it right and we should read them with a healthy dose of skepticism.
3. This Is An Unusual Election
Donald Trump is not your typical politician. So much so that the electoral map may look different this year than in years past.
Trump is struggling to convince voters in Utah, for instance, that he deserves their vote. He has also gotten some push-back from the evangelical Christian crowd, many of whom question his commitment to their values and social concerns. Interestingly, he brought up his problems in Mormon rich Utah while speaking to evangelicals recently.
While he did better with evangelicals during the primaries than many expected, the Republicans still need high turnout from this voting bloc to ensure a victory. If enough of them are turned off by Trump and decide to stay home, that could spell trouble for the Republicans winning even the typically red states.
4. He’s Already Crying “Rigged,” A Blowout Helps Shut That Down
Like many a loser before him, and likely many a loser after, now that it looks increasingly like Donald Trump will not be our next president, he is starting to argue that the rules of the game are rigged against him. He is even asking his supporters to police the polls against voter fraud, with a sign-up form on his website for those who wish to volunteer to be a “Trump Election Observer.”
Assuming he is defeated in November, he will undoubtedly make this argument no matter how badly he goes down. You can almost already hear him saying, “They want you to believe that I lost by how much?! There’s no way that many people would vote for Crooked Hillary!”
The closer the race, the more legs that argument has to run around inside the heads of conservatives voters and in the press. That’s true if for no other reason than this: America hates a loser. On that much, our country and Mr. Trump agree.