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How crypto could put Donald Trump over the top in November

Jeff Bottari—Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Anthony Scaramucci is founder and managing partner of SkyBridge Capital and founder and chairman of SALT. Kristin Smith is CEO of the Blockchain Association.

Last month, in remarks to a crowd of supporters, former President Donald Trump added a new dynamic to November's election—and reignited debate about the future of the digital asset industry in the U.S.—by declaring, “...if you are in favor of crypto, you better vote for Trump.” It wasn’t subtle, but it was acknowledgement of crypto’s growing importance as a hot-button political issue. Other elected officials and candidates for office should pay attention.

According to recent polling from DCG and The Harris Poll, Americans are eager for candidates to discuss crypto more substantively. One in five registered voters in battleground states believe crypto will be a major issue in the upcoming election—a percentage no one could call fringe.

Trump must’ve been listening as he moved to embrace this growing group of voters. On the same day, President Joe Biden threatened to veto legislation to repeal a harmful anti-crypto provision from the SEC, a promise he followed through on last week. The divergent views on the future of crypto in the U.S. could be an important lever in key swing states in November.

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More than 50 million Americans own crypto, but despite the groundswell of America's interest in and support of digital currencies, the current administration seems intent on stamping out digital asset innovation and sending jobs offshore. Crypto is a natural nonpartisan issue—elected officials on both sides of the aisle can, and have, found ways to embrace the technology. Progressives, in particular, should hail the devolve-power-to-the-people nature of decentralized systems that erode the overbearing power of Big Banks and Big Tech. Yet, the current administration and certain left-leaning members of Congress, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are making it harder for the digital asset voter to be heard across both sides of the aisle.

Crypto is a network of services that's inherently nonpartisan and has the potential to solve many of the problems both parties identify in the current financial system. Conservatives generally support crypto for the libertarian promise of decentralization—the ability for individuals to have complete autonomy over their own assets and to exchange them without needing financial intermediaries or sacrificing privacy to an intrusive government. Meanwhile, progressives should embrace the fact that crypto is a potential antidote to the power that commercial monopolies have over our lives. Decentralized networks can provide services at a lower cost to millions of those who aren't treated fairly by the current financial system.

Crypto presents a rare opportunity for legislators trying to build lasting relationships and goodwill with a largely untapped block of the voting base. Crypto users tend to be younger, diverse, and forward-thinking—all of which would, you could argue, make crypto adopters a natural constituency for Democrats. By engaging on the substance of crypto’s potential, Democrats could reap rich rewards in November.

However, the majority of the Democratic congressional caucus opposes, in broad strokes, supporting the growth of the homegrown crypto ecosystem. There are exceptions within the party, but many in positions of power continue to vilify the technology, framing the industry as an unregulated "Wild West," an unfortunate and untrue characterization. Their recent skepticism largely lies in concerns surrounding consumer protection and illicit finance, two areas where the crypto industry is willing to collaborate with our partners in government.

Democratic thinking must change—and evolve. Happily, there are early signs that this message is breaking through. Despite the veto from Biden, Democrats in Congress nevertheless joined in the repeal of SAB 121, the SEC’s punitive, anti-crypto accounting guidelines, and 71 members of the Democratic House delegation voted for the FIT21 market structure bill. These are positive developments that should be cheered, all while imploring Democrats to do more.

Democrats have an opportunity to safeguard the next generation of American innovation—and reach a new set of voters. In the excessively polarized political climate we find ourselves in today, the ability to attract an expanding community—such as the crypto ecosystem—can mean the difference between winning and losing narrow elections.

The digital asset industry feels unfairly targeted and backed into a corner, a situation that may push the industry overseas, robbing the U.S. of any current advantages. Trump’s remarks to a roaring crowd at Mar-a-Lago should be a wake-up call to Democrats: Embrace crypto and its young, tech-savvy voters—or someone else will.

The opinions expressed in Fortune.com commentary pieces are solely the views of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com