Politicians, Activists, Celebs Tell Glamour Mag 'Vote Your Conscience. It’s Too Important Not To.'
Because I want to be paid my worth. Because my family lives in fear of the next terror attack. Because there isn’t enough money left in my bank account each month. Ask young women you know why this election matters, and they’ll reply, “How much time do you have?”
It’s increasingly clear, many of them say, that the choice we make on November 8 will be one that may change our lives forever. “Everyone always says the stakes are high,” one Democrat told Glamour. “Well, we need new terminology to describe the stakes in this election.” Or as one Republican put it, “This is earth-shattering. Brexit-level changes are in store for the world.” Glamour has heard this sentiment time and again over the last year, as we’ve spoken to thousands of young women in Iowa, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and beyond, as part of our 51 Million Voices campaign, a partnership with Facebook named for the 51 million women under 45 who are eligible to vote in 2016.
At press time, 62 percent of young women say that in a two-way race they’d vote for Hillary Clinton, with 30 percent for Donald Trump, according to a Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Here more than a dozen women who roughly reflect those statistics share the reasons behind their vote. These are their perspectives. Agree? Disagree? Good. Vote your conscience. It’s too important not to.
"Because my daughter now sees limitless possibilities."
Molly McNearney, 38, co–head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live!
I was listening to Hillary’s speech at the convention in the car with my two-year-old, Jane. I knew in just minutes she would start demanding “Wheels on the Bus” or “Five Little Monkeys,” so I turned Hillary up, hoping to distract her and save me from having to sing “Let It Go” for the 900th time. After a few minutes of listening to the crowd, my daughter started chanting along: “Hillawee! Hillawee!” For all she knew, “Hillawee” was a candy bar or a Wiggle. But it caused me to burst into tears. I wasn’t expecting to be emotional, but I realized the weight of that moment for my daughter and me. Jane won’t wonder if a woman will ever be considered for the most important job. She won’t think things are out of her reach because of her gender. Years from now she won’t burst into tears in her car because a woman receives her party’s nomination for president. That will be her normal. She’ll burst into tears because Donald Trump is still tweeting.
"Because I felt singled out by Trump’s Muslim comments."
Airman First Class Zakiya Shareef-Givens, 36, a veteran of the Air National Guard in Atlanta
Muslims believe that they first should be servants to God and then servants to their communities. So, unsurprisingly, there’s a long history of military service in my family: Three of my brothers, my father, and I all served. And when I heard Donald Trump’s comments on the Khans, a Gold Star family, I thought they were ridiculous. Muslims have been fighting for our country alongside everyone else. And with his proposed Muslim ban, I felt like Trump was singling me out. I want whoever is leading our country next to allow me to practice my religion and support others in theirs, so I’m voting Clinton.
"Because I hate seeing working families struggling to survive."
Sarah Jessica Parker, 51, star of HBO's Divorce
People are constantly saying to me, “You have a shoe company, a fragrance, and a television show. You’re a mother. You’re a wife. How do you do it?” And I’m like, “How do I do it?” I’m fortunate enough to have the financial resources to provide the kind of child care I want, to choose the school I want, to make sure that my children are fed, that there is a roof over their heads, that they have the extracurricular activities to make their lives full and rich. I have all the help that I need. So many working mothers don’t. They don’t have the privilege of choosing what job might be creatively satisfying. They’re trying to survive, working two or three jobs. When their lives are better, we are all better. That means we should have health care for them. Good schools. Equal pay. Paid sick leave. I have not met one woman in my life who wanted to depend on the government. That woman just doesn’t exist. Every woman I know wants the same thing: for our children to be healthy and safe and to thrive. Working mothers are the dominant force in our country, and I believe Hillary Clinton is the best-equipped candidate to address their concerns.
"Because I can’t trust Hillary."
Emma Bolduc, 18, a student from Minneapolis and a Republican National Convention volunteer
When I was little, I was pro-Hillary: She wanted to be the first woman president, and I wanted a woman president! But today I don’t know if I can trust her. I like Trump’s willingness to tell the truth. Plus, he’s a businessman, so he knows what he’s doing as far as our national debt goes.
"Because I don’t want to see our country go back in time."
Sarah R. Carter, 37, a biotechnology policy consultant in Arlington, Virginia
When my grandfather President Jimmy Carter conducted genealogy research, he found out that many of our ancestors were slave owners and that every one of them who fought in the Civil War fought on the wrong side. That’s part of my family history and our country’s shared history, and I’m so proud that we’ve moved from that dark place to the place we’re in today, where Michelle Obama, as she pointed out, can wake up in a house built by slaves. This presidential race signifies who we are as Americans, and I don’t want to let the progress we’ve made be undone. People have criticized Democrats for being a collection of interest groups—women, African Americans, LGBTQ people. I say we are one group bridged by the themes of inclusivity and diversity. I want our country to continue to be inclusive, so I choose Hillary.
"Because I’m a cop and a citizen."
Detective Kris Cuddy, 37, a police detective in New Haven, Connecticut
Law enforcement is a dangerous job, so I feel the stakes in this election every day. I want candidates to support Black Lives Matter activists and law enforcement. Trump presents himself as very pro-police—he’s said, “We have to give power back to the police.” But his actions promote violence: He’s said he wants to punch people in the face. He has removed Black Lives Matter protesters from his events. Trump’s lack of support for gun control is also concerning—simply paying attention to who is purchasing which guns would save law enforcement and civilian lives. When Clinton says that everyone in America should respect the law and be respected by the law, it’s clear that she has both citizens’ and officers’ best interests in mind. I believe she has shown she has a real plan of action for law enforcement; that’s why I’m voting for her in November.
"Because Donald Trump does not represent my Republican ideals."
Mindy Finn, 35, founder of the nonprofit Empowered Women in Washington, D.C.
I’ve worked for or on behalf of the Republican party for my entire career, often to modernize it and broaden its appeal to women and minorities. Donald Trump is the opposite of what I hope for the party’s future. I like limited government, fiscal conservatism, strong family values, and a strong military. In Trump we have this alpha-male nominee who objectifies women and treats them as second-class citizens. Those values in no way speak to the whole of our party. The moment I became a #NeverTrumper was right after I had dropped my son off for his first day of preschool. It hit me that all the dreams that I had for my three-year-old—like being kind to others and including people—were the exact opposite of Donald Trump’s values. Even though it was a career risk, I led the Never Trump PAC, and I plan to vote for a third-party candidate.
"Because too many black people like my sister are dying at the hands of police."
Shanté Needham, 36, employee at a health care company
My life changed forever the day my sister, Sandra Bland, died in police custody after a traffic stop in Texas in July 2015. Why did the officer stop her? Why was she jailed? Why did she die? The police want us to believe she committed suicide, but then, how did she get that garbage bag into her cell? People say killings of black people by the police aren’t about race: Yes, they are. The people sworn to protect our communities are executing our sisters, our sons—that needs to stop. We need diverse officers, stricter gun-control laws, and tougher protocols on in-custody deaths. I don’t think Hillary Clinton will forget these stories if elected. What happened to my sister never should have happened.
"Because my first vote as an immigrant should matter."
Camilla Blackett, 31, a writer on the sitcom Fresh Off the Boat
I am not from this country originally. I came here from England five years ago and soon started writing for The Newsroom. I came here for the reason most people do: opportunity. (Also, I’d run out of boys to make out with in London.) Families who emigrate want to give their kids more opportunities. Donald Trump’s regressive views feel dangerous to immigrants, the economy, and foreign relations. I really wanted Bernie Sanders, but I couldn’t have found a more qualified second choice in Hillary Clinton, whom I’ll be voting for in my first U.S. election.
"Because I’ve seen what it takes to be a public servant."
Lily Adams, 29, a Hillary for America staffer
I spent my formative years going to events with my grandmother Ann Richards after she became governor of Texas and campaigning with her for re-election. Everywhere we went people would tell her about their lives and challenges. They always had something nice (or not nice) to say, but even when their comments were beyond the pale, she kept going because she felt an enormous privilege in serving people. I’ve seen the responsibility that comes with being a public servant. I think this election transcends any one issue. It’s about: What kind of leaders do we want? Hillary Clinton wants to make people’s lives better.
"Because I’m fed up with politicians."
Caitlin Watters, 24, a law student and grandniece of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
My generation is sick of politics as usual—this election illustrates that perfectly. I am definitely a Republican. I identify as Republican when it comes to economics and protecting our country, but when it comes to social issues, I identify with the left. In my perfect world a candidate who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal would rise up. This election, though, I’m voting for Trump. I believe we need to protect our country. Trump’s ideas like building a wall are cutthroat, but I think we need them for a little while, until we get back on top. More than anything, my generation is seeing from this election that we need fresh air in politics. I plan to run for office one day.
"Because I don’t want to teach my sons fear."
Mara Brock Akil, 46, creator of Being Mary Jane
My 12-year-old son is one of the few black boys in an all-white school. And I’ve had to tell one of the white parents, “When your son is out with my son, understand that he can’t wield his white privilege—and act a fool—because he’s not going to get in trouble for it. My son is. My son has the burden of having to carry himself perfectly just so that he can live.” And second, “If your son is out with my son, tell him, Speak up for him. Be a friend.” Those are the conversations we have to have. Nobody wants to go backward—and that’s where Trump’s leadership would take us. What’s brilliant is that, because of him, people are getting off the sidelines and deciding that our humanity is worth the fight.
"Because I care about the courts."
Anne Hathaway, 33, Oscar-winning actress
The issue for me this election: the Supreme Court. Whoever our next president is, she or he will likely nominate three, maybe even four, new justices. The decisions the Supreme Court makes will affect our country long after this election. I want to see the right people protecting my—and, more important, my son’s—rights.
"Because I want new voices to be heard."
Alexandra Smith, 27, national chairman of the College Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C.
This election is about choices. With Hillary Clinton you’re choosing to continue what’s happened for the last eight years—I don’t know if that’s been particularly good for young people. What I do know is that Donald Trump and Mike Pence will provide a shock to the system and allow new voices to be heard in Washington.
"Because I’m scared that what happened at Sandy Hook could happen at my kids’ school."
Shannon Watts, 45, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense America, Boulder, Colorado
It’s difficult for me to focus on issues like education, the economy, and healthcare, when I don’t know that my five kids will make it home from school (and work) alive. I haven’t been able to shake that fear since Sandy Hook, after which I started an organization Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense to curb gun violence. From day one, I got death threats and threats of sexual violence from those who felt I threatened their second amendment right to own a gun. They aimed those threats at my daughters, too. I’ve gotten Facebook messages, calls and emails saying things like “I hope you and your daughters get raped and I come across it, but you don’t have a gun and I won’t save you.” People drive by my house and send letters to my home, too. With open carry legal in 45 states, men who are open-carrying come to my organization’s rallies or marches, which in itself is an attempt to intimidate and threaten us. I didn’t want this to be a partisan issue: We’ve showed up at events for every presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat; but soon we realized Democrats were warmly inviting us to their events, and Republicans were shutting us out. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, because she’s the candidate who has said that this is one of the most important issues in 2016.
"Because misunderstanding of my brother’s disability almost got him killed."
Miriam Soto, 29, nurse, Miami
My brother’s caregiver Charles, an African American, was trying to calm down my brother, Arnaldo, who has autism, when a police officer shot him out of fear. Later on, the police force announced that the officer didn't mean to shoot Charles, he meant to shoot my brother—no, it wasn't the black guy, it was the autistic one—as if that was going to make things better? If this police force would have known their community better, and known the locations of these group homes, and known the traits of autism, many of the mistakes that they made would have been avoided. When a member of your family has a disability, you have to deal with misunderstanding, hate, and discrimination every day, and that won’t change with more fear and hate. That won’t change with Donald Trump making fun of people with disabilities. I believe his rhetoric is putting lives in jeopardy. What are little kids hearing in the news? It’s all this hate, all these divisions. So if they see somebody at school that has a disability, what do they do? “Oh, I heard in the news that I can do this. So if Trump did it, I’m going to make fun of this person with a disability.” They are no longer seeing them as individuals, as people. They’re seeing them as something that’s abhorrent, something that is incorrect in the world; therefore because it’s different it’s bad. The only way I see change happening is with education and awareness, and that’s why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton.
"Because we want more rights, not fewer."
Abby Wambach, 36, a two-time Olympic gold-medal soccer player and author of the new memoir Forward
The scariest thing about electing Donald Trump is that he’s a wild card. There are so many rights my community has fought hard for, and all of them could be taken away. Hillary hasn’t always been outspoken about LGBTQ rights but has convinced me that she supports us (watch her Human Rights Campaign speech). She supports passage of the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and so I support her and will help ensure she puts the act into law.
"Because every women's issue is at stake in this election."
Grace Gummer, 30, actress, Los Angeles
The stakes in this election are high in every sense—when it comes to Planned Parenthood, paid family leave, the minimum wage, and the pay gap. I also think a lot about Supreme Court Justice—whoever is chosen will have a huge impact on women’s rights. Every time Trump opens his mouth, even from the very beginning, I’ve been really scared and wary. From what he said about Megyn Kelly to his comments about the Gold Star Khan family to what he said about how if his daughter was sexually harassed at work she should just find another job—it’s so misinformed. Meanwhile, I was at the Democratic National Convention: My mom [Meryl Streep] spoke on stage because she also feels like the stakes are so high in this election. She cares a lot, especially about women’s issues. Watching her speak, my sister and I felt so proud and just so lucky to be in the room, especially the night when Hillary was officially nominated. It was very special and inspiring and encouraging. I believe in Hillary.