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Was the New York Primary fair?

posted on: Apr 20, 2016

Was the New York Primary fair?
Photo source: Fox News

BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton claimed victories in New York last night during the primary election. New York is Trump’s home state and the state Hillary Clinton served as U.S. Senator, making it an important win for both of them. However, these wins may not be a true representation of the state or the Arab Americans living there.

New York is known for its significant minority communities that, combined, make up 50% of the state’s population and 56% of New York City’s population, leaving white Americans the real minority there. Over 400,000 of those considered white in New York are actually Arab Americans, according to non-governmental sources.  Although the Federal government considers Arabs racially white, all other Americans perceive the community like a minority and the majority of Arab Americans vote like minorities, too, as democrats. There are a few unique factors about New York that either stopped Arab American voters or helped the wrong person win.

Voters in New York who are registered to an independent party were not allowed to vote in last night’s primary. Only registered Democrats and Republicans were able to vote, suppressing about 3 million registered voters rights. Bernie Sanders, who is a member of the independent party, got snubbed in New York because fellow independents were not able to vote for him. By now, it is well known that many Arab American leaders, organizations, and community members support Bernie Sanders.

Furthermore, the deadline to register to vote or change party affiliation for New York was a whopping seven months ago, forcing many to miss their chance to practice their democratic right to vote. New York also does not offer early voting, Election Day registration, or absentee voting for people without a “legitimate excuse” like actually being out of town. Since Americans don’t get the day off to vote, many choose absentee voting to maintain their normal schedule, while also making their voice heard.

Aside from the issues of voter suppression of New York, Arab Americans were also parodied by the Trump campaign, whose supporters just unveiled their Diversity Coalition.  Representing Arab Americans for Donald Trump in the coalition is Sonya Elizabeth, a woman who is virtually nonexistent outside of her Facebook comments on the Fox News page. During their first meeting on Monday in New York, the coalition reinforced their mission to win “100 percent” of the minority vote in the primary. Obviously, this did not happen for Trump in New York, but with the Diversity Coalition claiming victory, as well, an illusion that the large Arab American population contributed to Trump’s win was created.

There is no definite way to know just exactly how much or how little the Arab American community impacted the wins of Trump or Clinton last night, but the voter suppression and misrepresentation of Arab American views and identity are cause for worry. If Americans in general are not able to express themselves honestly, then an authentic representation of America cannot be established.