One of my proudest moments was in January 2017, when I watched my colleagues at the American Civil Liberties Union spring into action to confront then-President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Issued in the first hours of his presidency, the ban kicked off four years of chaos and deep division among so many Americans. But every step of the way, the ACLU held the line, filing 400 legal actions against his administration before his disgraceful exit from office.

We all breathed a sigh of relief when Trump was defeated, but unfortunately Trumpism has lived on strong in West Virginia.    

Since he left office, abortion has been banned in our state and 23 others. Our immigrant friends and neighbors continue to be demonized. Trans kids have been banned from sports and had their access to lifesaving healthcare restricted while violence and harassment against them skyrockets. Some of our highest-ranking state officials have started to embrace the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Cruelty has replaced any semblance of thoughtful policymaking, and the West Virginia gubernatorial primary has become a contest of who can prove themselves the biggest bigot.

If re-elected, Trump will embolden the very fascists who marched through downtown Charleston this spring with their faces hidden behind masks. He may not publicly admit to being a white nationalist, but the white nationalists certainly know who they’re voting for.

If given another term, Trump has promised, “I’d be a dictator on day one.” I encourage everyone reading this to research Project 2025, a nefarious blueprint for subverting what remains of American democracy into an authoritarian state.   

The plan is extreme and wide-ranging.

It would weaken civil service protections, making it easier to replace career specialists with political sycophants. It would aggressively reshape the judiciary to advance legal theories once considered laughably fringe. It would see National Guard members deputized by Trump himself to invade “blue states” to round up undocumented people and place them in internment camps. It would roll back hard-won rights and prohibit both the public and private sectors from attempting to address racism in society. It would curtail protest rights and enact voter suppression under the guise of election security.

We must reject this power grab at the polls so decisively that we send a message to anti-democratic politicians down the ballot as well.   

At ACLU-WV we’re no strangers to these threats. Whether it’s the vitriol our advocates face in the Capitol, the injustices our legal team confronts in the courts, or the bigotry our organizers confront in communities, we have been working to stave off the worst of it.

No matter how the election goes, we will keep showing up.

But we’ve never done it alone. You have been with us every step of the way. You volunteered your time and resources. You donated. You opened your homes to our organizers to host community meetings. You made phone calls and wrote emails. When it was clear they weren’t listening, you showed up at the Capitol with us. When they locked us out of the proceedings, you shook the marble halls with your voices.

We’re ramping up and we know the coming months will require a collective effort. We need volunteers, members, and donors like never before. We need you – yes, YOU – to have those difficult conversations with loved ones. We know we can count on you, because you’ve been right here with us the whole time.

Because we don’t have to wonder what a second Trump term would look like. We’ve been living it in West Virginia. That’s why we’re ready to take him on again, with all of you by our side.  


Forward Together,

Eli Baumwell

Interim Executive Director