Tamika Mallory: "Those in power have always preyed on fear to get people to vote against their best interests"

  /  10.31.2018

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

—by Tamika Mallory

Did you all hear Trump declare that he’s a nationalist last week? They say hindsight is 20/20 because when you’re living through the moment, it’s hard to understand the historic significance that it will come to hold later in life. However, I can assure you that the 2018 midterm elections are going to be a critical turning point for the future of our country. Things could get better, or they could get much worse.

Trump’s announcement preceded a week of politically-motivated white supremacist violence. The New York Times reported that in Kentucky a white supremacist killed two Black people in a grocery store after being unable to ambush the Black church nearby. In Pittsburgh, an anti-Semitic rampage took the lives of 11 Jews inside their synagogue, a synagogue which had taken a pro-immigrant stance. And prominent Democrats such as Barack Obama and Maxine Waters, along with other critics of Trump’s regime, received pipe bombs mailed to their homes and businesses by a white supremacist. This is a campaign of terror and intimidation.

White nationalism is the political expression of hatred, and it’s all on the table this election season. Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, has been targeted by blatantly racist robocalls to voters, paid for by a neo-Nazi hate group and using a caricature of Black dialect that’s straight out of old-time minstrel shows. In California, Republican Duncan Hunter is facing charges for illegal use of campaign funds, but he’s relying on fear and racism to fight Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar—claiming the Palestinian-American who served in Barack Obama’s administration is a “security risk” and an “Islamist” trying to “infiltrate the U.S. government.”

These tricks aren’t new. Those in power have always preyed on fear to get some people to vote against their best interests and to keep others away from the polls. Half of U.S. states have passed laws to restrict and suppress certain groups of voters, like in Georgia where almost 200,000 voters have been removed from the rolls. They want us to feel powerless as they continue to jail our brothers and sisters, turn a blind eye when law enforcement officers shoot our children, and ignore our pleas for something as critical to life as clean water. How are we going to change that?

With the elections just a week away, there’s no time to waste. Based on early voting, turnout is higher than the 2016 Presidential election—which is remarkable and shows how crucial and contested these midterm elections are. Yet there are reports suggesting that Republicans may be showing up to the polls in greater numbers than Democrats. Their base of voters is energized and they are determined to keep control of all branches of government.

It’s up to us to disrupt that. This isn’t politics as usual and it’s much deeper than Democrats versus Republicans. We have to take control of our government by voting in the candidates that represent you and people who are prepared to help us block the hatred that is rearing its ugly head in our country, regardless of political affiliation.

The U.S. House of Representatives is crucial, and if you don’t already have a candidate in mind, here are a few that I am personally watching. Lucy McBath, the mother of teenager Jordan Davis who was shot by a white man for playing loud music, is a serious contender for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. In Kentucky, Amy McGrath, the first woman Marine to fly on a combat mission, is running for Congress in the district where Mitch McConnell lives. There are many others like them running for House seats in “red” districts: Kara Eastman, who supports Medicare-for-all in Nebraska; Jess King in central Pennsylvania; and Sri Kulkarni, who’s engaging Asian-American voters in Texas.

And there’s also critical governor’s races. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams is running on a platform that includes health care for all. In Maryland, Ben Jealous is running to fight for police reform from the state’s highest office. And in Florida, Andrew Gillum is pushing for a $15 minimum wage.

How many times do we say that we want candidates who truly represent us? They’re here now, but they can’t do anything unless they get into office. If these candidates aren’t running in your district, I encourage you to find out who is. Research your local candidates, learn where they stand on the issues that affect your life, and then use that knowledge to make an informed choice at the polls.

I can’t say it enough: Everyone who can needs to get out and vote in the midterms. Call your friends. Find out where your polling place is. If you can vote early in your state, please vote right now. Make sure your neighbors have a ride on election day.

November 6th will go one of two ways: the people at the top can tighten their grip on our government, ushering in more violence and uncertainty for already-vulnerable communities, or we can begin to take our country back, one vote at a time.

This is REALLY up to us.

For just one more week, I’ll be writing to you about several important states and races that we need to focus on winning in November. You can ask me any question you want by going on REVOLT TV’s IG story and submitting a question.

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