Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote: Quentin James

By is home to a growing collection of voters who are thinking beyond the individual and dedicating their votes as acts of hope for the future. This brand-new website includes a wide range of voices, from Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling novelists to a retired lieutenant colonel with the US Army Special Forces, teachers, social workers, and people from various walks of life. Feel free to #DedicateYourNoTrumpVote on Twitter, Facebook, or by submitting to the site.

–Julianna Baggott


The Republican candidate for President of the United States stood before a crowded room of White Americans a few weeks back and said to Black Americans in request of their vote, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

I decided to consider the question. If this man was willing to throw his hat in the ring to lead our great country in the face of all the turmoil before us, the least I could do was give serious consideration to any question he posed to his fellow American. What the hell do I have to lose in this country? Honestly, I don’t know where to begin.

I imagine my ancestors (the ones who were slaves) being confused by the question. I’ve never used the word “flabbergasted” before, but I think they would be flabbergasted. The question entails an acute lack of insight that is hard not to find offensive. My ancestors might say something to me like, “Are you a slave? No? Can you vote and go to school? Yes? Do you have the option to do with your life what you want? You do? Well, tell him that you have those things to lose. I believe it’s called freedom. Yes, your freedom is something that you have to lose.”

To be honest, there is a longer list of things I have to lose that I had planned on poetically articulating here (among them the right to peacefully assemble, the safety of being protected and served by officers of the law, a head of state who does not acquiesce and curry favor to racist organizations, the liberty of flirting with a white woman if she is giving accommodating signals, the right to high speed internet access, etc., etc., you get what I’m saying.). But I now realize that there’s no need to go any further than the initial answer of freedom. Apparently, we must start with the basics with this candidate. Gotta crawl before we walk.

Any person who would ask the question, “What the hell do Black people have to lose?” needs to let this sink in. Black people were not always free in this country. I guess I am the ass because I assumed everyone already realized this, but maybe we need to slow down for those of us who were fortunate enough to be born on third base and ignorant enough to think they hit a triple.

Any person who asks, “What the hell do Black people have to lose?” has no appreciation for the history of this country or what freedom actually means. Freedom is something that this person takes for granted. Their status in this world they think is entitled to them.

Any person who asks the question “What the hell do Black people have to lose?” doesn’t honor the wars we fought and the lives that have been lost to grant us that freedom. I guess I take this personally because there is an implication within the question that says that I have nothing worth fighting for. I’d like to believe that my flabbergasted ancestors who have fought for me and other Blacks would be proud of me and where Black people are today, and I think they would be concerned that we would settle for anything that does not propel us forward. We’ve come too far to go back to the drawing board. Because goddamn it, if we’re going lose what we already gained.

Any person who would ask that question lacks the basic fundamental attribute of empathy that I feel the office of the President of the United States needs. Any person who would ask the question “What the hell do Black people have to lose?” either hasn’t taken the time to consider the perspective of his fellow American OR doesn’t care enough to consider the perspective of his fellow American OR does not possess the mental fortitude to entertain such a notion that although all are created equal not all are born into equal circumstances.

Regardless, the conclusion that I’ve come to is that any person who would genuinely ask the question “What the hell do Black people have to lose?” does not need to be anywhere near the White House. Not even to deliver flowers. The person who would genuinely in this day and age ask the question “What the hell do Black people have to lose?” needs to go to the library or back to school to read a book or two.

To summarize, to answer the question, my personal answer is my self-respect, Mr. Trump. That is what I have to lose by voting for you, you ass hat.

I dedicate my No-Trump Vote to the people who have sacrificed for my freedom and to those in the future who will continue to benefit from that sacrifice. No backward steps.

Quentin James is a writer, teacher, and performer currently working out of Boston, MA. He is a member of the sketch comedy group Friends of Gertrude and the comedy team The Quiet Generation. He is a former member of the culturally diverse improve group Bodega as well as ImprovBoston’s National Touring Company, Mainstage, and Family Show. He has had his written works published and/or produced by The Windsor Review, ShimmyHoots Review, Arcadia Magazine, SLAMBoston, and MadLab Theater Roulette. His screenplay Growing Things, a psychological thriller co-written with Jenna Sullivan, won the Grand Prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. In addition, he is a writer and producer of the web series Hot Dog and The Ninja. During the day, Quentin teaches English composition and literature in an Adult Basic Education program helping people get their high school diploma through the Boston Public Schools. Quentin received his M.A. in Creative Writing from the Florida State University and originally hails from St. Louis, MO. More from this author →