‘Uncommitted’ Voters Must Accept Trump Is Much, Much Worse Than Biden

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Mostafa Bassim / Anadolu / Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Mostafa Bassim / Anadolu / Getty

I have a question for the roughly 100,000 “uncommitted” voters in Michigan—do you want Donald Trump back in the White House?

And before you answer, please know that I understand that Muslim and Arab Americans are hurting all over this country right now, and I’m not trying to be insensitive to that fact. On the contrary, as a Lebanese American myself, I know that your experiences are deeply impactful and that your feelings are valid and very, very real.

People are hurting. Emotions are running high. Sides are being taken. Lines are being drawn.

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Incredibly consequential choices are being guided by legitimate, palpable feelings like sadness, frustration, anger, fear, mourning, grief, and rage.

But when someone says they’re so angry at the current president because of the decisions being made by his administration in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, that they’re willing to ostensibly elect someone who campaigned on a platform of othering them, someone who promised to shut down their mosques, and called Muslim refugees a “Trojan horse for ISIS,” I’m left with the question I asked at the top.

Because unless that’s the case, unless you actually want Trump back in the White House, your inability to support the only viable alternative to him doesn’t make any rational sense. It’s not rational. Or sensible.

And again, you have the absolute right to be hurt and furious over innocent people—including many children—dying in a brutal military assault. The carnage is horrific, and the fact that U.S.-supplied weapons are Israel’s tools of war brings the issue even closer to home.

But choices are consequential. And decisions made purely on emotions are often antithetical to reason.

You are angry with Joe Biden and I get it. But please do not lose sight of how much more you stand to lose if Trump returns to the White House.

This is a person who questioned the birthplace of our first Black president, and still to this day uses his name as a slur to demean him and to question his “loyalty” to America. He said “Islam hates us.” He proposed surveilling mosques. He wanted Muslims in the United States to register in a special database. He’s repeatedly told the same lie that he saw Muslims dancing in the streets during 9/11. He put Islamophobes like Mike Flynn and Sebastian Gorka in the White House. He called for a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” He used the highest office in our government not only to endorse discrimination and violence against Muslim Americans, but essentially to sanction it, and it worked. It is still working. He hasn’t stopped stoking this fire. It propelled him to the very office he later attempted to steal.

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Last July he said to a rally crowd in Iowa “when I return to office the travel ban is coming back, even bigger than before, and much stronger than before.”

He’s doubling down on anti-Muslim hate speech. And they aren’t just words. Unlike so many of his other unfulfilled promises, targeting, harassing, and oppressing Muslim Americans is something he has proven he will seek to deliver.

This is a very difficult time for so many, and we often lose our capacity to see the big picture when we are flooded with intense emotion. And in that space, we can lose sight of all the things we know to be true. The truth is that Donald Trump has already shown himself to be the Islamophobia president and we already know that he would go much, much further if given the chance. He would hand Gaza and the West Bank to Bibi Netanyahu in New York minute.

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but Joe Biden is actually listening to what you are saying. And he is trying. He wants to continue to have these conversations. He understands how important they are.

But if we elect Donald Trump again, these conversations cease to exist at all.

You have a right to have your voices heard. You have a right in a democracy to make a statement at the ballot. I respect that and I understand it. And of course, you also have the right to extend that protest by sitting out the general election or voting for a third party.

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But I ask that in November you remember all that you have lost and how much more you stand to lose if Donald Trump returns to the White House.

In my opinion, for anyone to say that they’ve thought this through rationally and not clouded by emotion—and that they’ve somehow still arrived at the conclusion that, as it pertains to Muslims in this country and abroad, Donald Trump would be a better president than Biden, or “equally bad,” or that they’re willing to just roll the dice by not voting at all, it simply doesn’t square with reality.

In no way do I aim to invalidate anyone’s feelings—which, again, are very real and absolutely worthy of a meaningful consideration—but putting Trump back in office as a result of how you are feeling right now, simply makes no sense. The feelings aren’t irrational, but the conclusion is.

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