‘I would be willing to give up my right to vote to make this happen’

JUST when you thought extreme Trump backers couldn’t get any more bonkers, they’ve come up with the their craziest idea yet to ensure the Donald wins the upcoming US presidential election.

After a fundraising email sent by Trump’s son, Eric, suggested the Republican candidate would only win if men cast ballots, supporters have called to revoke women’s right to vote by repealing the 19th amendment, a constitutional amendment that granted women’s right to vote less than a century ago.

The hashtag #repealthe19th began to gain steam after political commentator Nate Silver, from blog FiveThirtyEight, posted a map divided into red and blue states. Trump’s campaign picked up the map and decided to use it to their advantage.

As news.com.au reported this week, Eric Trump sent out an email to the Republican party’s supporters entitled “Momentum”.

“As one of the most dedicated grassroots leaders in the country you know, momentum matters,” it read.

“And right now all the momentum is on our side.”

Silver found Hillary would win the women’s vote by a landslide of 458 to 80.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Trump would win the men’s vote 350 to 188.

To win the election, a presidential candidate must score 270 electoral votes.

Silver posted maps on Twitter of the swing for both sexes, but Trump’s campaign only used the map of the male vote to prove their point, unsurprisingly.

Despite being met with widespread criticism, supporters of Trump believed “making America great again” meant revoking women’s rights to vote.

In the United States, the ratification of the 19th Amendment to allow women to vote came into effect in August 1920.

According to the Brennan Centre for Justice, as part of the New York University School of Law, women in the United States to this day can face massive hurdles just to vote.

“Since the 2010 election, new restrictions — ranging from onerous burdens on community voter registration drives to the elimination of same-day registration — are in place in 21 states,” Nelson Castano wrote for the site.

“Two measures in particular may be especially harmful to women’s voting rights: strict photo ID laws and cutbacks to early voting.”

“Strict photo ID laws can be hard on women because of the difficulties voters may face when casting a ballot if the name on their ID does not match the name in the voter rolls. Even today, surveys estimate that roughly 80 per cent of women change their name at marriage.

“Compounding the problem, about one-third of voting-age women do not have ready access to underlying documents with their current, legal name — such as birth certificates and passports — which can be necessary to get other identification like a driver’s licence.

Former Democratic candidate for governor Senator Wendy Davis found herself embroiled in the voting drama in 2013 because her ID used her maiden name.

“There’s a tremendous concern it will create a problem for women who have been legally voting for years to be able to vote … and that they may be surprised by it,” Davis said at the time.

“I hope the word will get out. I hope we will continue to see women vote as they have in Texas.”

Meanwhile in Texas, which is hailed as one of the toughest states for photo identification, accepts concealed handgun licenses but not university IDs as valid identification.

In his 2012 Equality Day proclamation, President Obama vowed to “keep [women’s] interests at the core of our policy decisions”.

“We should remember that restrictions on the ballot box tend to hit certain communities hardest — and women are at risk of being one of them,” read the article.

This year, 14 states will include new voting restrictions: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Though good news for the women’s rights movement; it’s not easy to repeal the Amendment. The only way to repeal an Amendment is by introducing another Amendment; and with a number of women in Congress and state legislatures, it’s unlikely to ever happen.

So while supporters might call it a media beat up, or an attack on Trump, the scary reality we face both here in Australia and the US — as this writer has experienced first hand — is the scary reality that people exist in this world who are blind to equality in all its forms, be it black, straight, gay, alien, or lizard.

— youngma@news.com.au

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