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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights: Why did so many queer voters back Trump?


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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

I have a new hero! Her name is Cassandra.

Why am I a Cassandra fangirl? Because Cassandra is an oracle. She speaks the truth, but was cursed never to be believed. Why does she repel so many? Because the truth isn’t pretty, and truth tellers too often come off as scolds.

We are in the Age of Cassandra. Cassandra knows the score. She tells us the real story of what’s happening in our country. But many of us, queer and non-queer, turn away in disbelief.

As I write, it’s been 10 days since Nov. 7, when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election. Yet, Donald Trump still falsely claims that he “won.”

Even as his team continues to lose in its efforts to legally upend the election, Trump insists that the Democrats stole the election. As I write, Trump is tweeting that the recount going on in Georgia is “fake.”

It’s alarming enough that, for the first time in our history, we have a president who appears to be unwilling to leave office after he’s lost an election. More alarming: as I write, the Trump administration has not begun the transition that normally begins when the election is over.

This in itself is scary. “Trump has broken every norm of democracy and civility,” my friend George Covington, who worked for the George H.W. Bush administration told me over the phone recently.

A few Republicans have acknowledged that Biden won the election and congratulated the president-elect.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah.) were among the Republicans who joined Bush in congratulating the president elect.

But Republican leaders who have congratulated Biden are few. Most, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham have supported Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.

McConnell, who must know that Biden won the election, told CNN that Trump is “within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”

Graham has gone even further, reports the Washington Post. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (a Republican) told the Post that Graham and other Republicans had pressured him to invalidate legally cast absentee ballots, so that Biden’s victory in Georgia would be reversed in Trump’s favor. (Graham has denied that this occurred.)

Some of my friends have told me that I’m overly alarmed. That Trump’s legal challenges won’t come to anything.

I don’t mean that I think Trump won’t leave the White House on Jan. 20. Or that after Inauguration Day, McConnell and other Republican leaders will persist in not acknowledging that Biden is president.

But, as I write, the Trump administration has refused to allow the transition process to begin. Biden hasn’t yet been given access to intelligence briefings. Nor has anyone from Trump’s coronavirus task force spoken with Biden or his staff.

Even more frightening: depending on the polls from 30 percent (Reuters poll) to 70 percent (Politico’s poll) believe Trump’s false claim of election fraud. They support Trump’s lie, though Fox News said Biden won.

This should take the stuffing out of you! How can we have a democracy when at least 30 percent of Americans no longer trust facts?

Equally disturbing: polls indicate that the number of LGBTQ people who voted for Trump nearly doubled since the 2016 election. About 14 percent of LGBTQ people voted for Trump in 2016, Nate Silver said on the 538 podcast. About 27 percent of LGBTQ people voted for him in 2020.

It’s time that we, the LGBTQ press, progressives, liberals – queer civil rights activists – listen to Cassandra. Our democracy is fragile now. Increasingly, people in our community are supporting an anti-queer demagogue.

We must try to better understand why some queer folks support Trump. As difficult as it will be, let’s work to fix our broken democracy.

Kathi Wolfe is an award-winning poet and regular contributor to the Blade.

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Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights