President-elect Donald Trump's win early Wednesday morning stunned and devastated observers around the globe, who were quick to note the risks a Trump administration poses to the climate, human rights, the economy, and the world at-large.
"Now that he has secured victory, President-elect Trump should move from the headline-grabbing rhetoric of hatred and govern with respect for all who live in the United States," said HRW executive director Kenneth Roth. "He found a path to the White House through a campaign marked by misogyny, racism, and xenophobia, but that's not a route to successful governance. President-elect Trump should commit to leading the U.S. in a manner that fully respects and promotes human rights for everyone."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday urged Trump to walk back his most egregious campaign promises—such as a ban on Muslims and reintroduction of the torture program—and uphold civil and human rights.
"Now that he has secured victory, President-elect Trump should move from the headline-grabbing rhetoric of hatred and govern with respect for all who live in the United States."
Human Rights Watch
"President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation's highest office, we urge you to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made," said ACLU's executive director Anthony Romero. "These include your plan to amass a deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants; ban the entry of Muslims into our country and aggressively surveil them; punish women for accessing abortion; reauthorize waterboarding and other forms of torture; and change our nation's libel laws and restrict freedom of expression."
Trump has famously kicked journalists out of his rallies for questioning his statements and previously declared that, as president, he would "open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."
"These proposals are not simply un-American and wrong-headed, they are unlawful and unconstitutional," Romero said. "They violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments."
Civil rights organizations lined up to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) in 2013, a ruling that disenfranchised and eliminated many protections for minority voters and had an untold impact on the election, with voters reporting long lines and intimidation at polling places around the country. Groups also vowed to defend and fight for civil rights against Trump and U.S. Congress, which is now entirely controlled by Republicans.
The NAACP, which worked tirelessly in North Carolina to reverse a mass voter purge that illegally canceled thousands of registrations, mostly affecting black residents, mourned the results of the election but vowed to mobilize.
"History will judge not only the courage of our volunteers but also the cowardice of those who chose again and again to suppress the vote rather than listen to the voice of democracy this year."
—Cornell William Brooks,
"This beautiful fall morning represents the end of a long night filled with many midnight moments of uncertainty, voter intimidation and suppression, campaigns founded on bigotry, and divisiveness as an electoral strategy," said the group's president and CEO Cornell William Brooks. "And yet, despite the moments of ugliness, this election season has reminded us of the beauty and strength of both the nation and of the NAACP."
"History will judge not only the courage of our volunteers but also the cowardice of those who chose again and again to suppress the vote rather than listen to the voice of democracy this year," he said. "When civil rights are threatened, we are as persistent as we are determined."
The League of Women Voters likewise condemned the notable impact of the weakened VRA. The group's president Chris Carson said Wednesday, "This is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act," she said. "Thousands of eligible voters were purged from the rolls. Onerous voter ID laws prevented eligible voters from casting their ballots. We saw cases of misinformation and intimidation at the polls."
"We can and must do better," she said.
That sentiment was prominent among activist organizations. NAACP's Brooks vowed, "Now that the election is over, the first priority for a new Congress and a new president must be restoring the badly-broken Voting Rights Act. We cannot afford to send untold teams of lawyers to court and spend incalculable sums of money to defend our right to vote in the courts and in the streets again and again and again."
"Any effort to suppress the vote, whether at the hands of lawmakers, judges or everyday people, is and must continue to be considered unjust, un-American, and utterly unacceptable. The NAACP will not rest until full and equal voting rights are restored for each and every American citizen," he said.