I’m not with her, or with him

John McClatchy

Just because I won’t vote for Trump or Clinton doesn’t mean I support the other.

notwithherorhim

I received my voter registration card in the mail a month ago. The person I was in eighth grade would’ve been ecstatic. All I felt was disappointment.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]American democracy shouldn’t be like this. Out of the millions of incredibly intelligent, honest, hard-working, and caring people we have in this country, we narrow it down to these four, and realistically two people?[/perfectpullquote]

There are two realistic choices for President: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. I was never on board with Trump: I was frightened and disgusted by his rhetoric, and knew I would never cast my vote for him from the beginning.

Clinton took me a bit to mull over. Once I had gotten over the fact that she had won the Democratic primary, I was weighing whether or not I should vote for her. After all, Pennsylvania is one of Trump’s key states to win, so every vote against him counts, right?

It took me until the first night of the Democratic National Convention to decide I could not vote for Clinton. It wasn’t because of the DNC speakers, or the party’s platform and ideas — I agreed with a lot of them, like equality for LGBT Americans, fighting income inequality, and opposing voter ID laws. It was the Clinton supporters who did it.

I’d be lying if I said I liked Clinton at that point. The irony of her agreeing to raise the US minimum wage while fighting to lower Haiti’s was rich. I didn’t trust her not to get us involved in another Middle East war given her Iraq War vote, and her speeches to Wall Street for hundreds of thousands of dollars didn’t inspire my trust.

I was willing, however, to forgive all that to stop Trump. Until that night.

I was watching the DNC on C-SPAN with my computer on a reddit thread discussing the convention. I saw the snarkiness when they mocked Bernie supporters. I saw their pretension when they denounced people disliking her for not being left enough.

That, and the general smugness of the convention turned me off of voting for Clinton. They were acting like they had already won this election, and the next one too because of changing demographics that just had to vote Democrat.

So, with a sour taste in my mouth, I looked at third party options. I knew none of them would win, but just maybe it would be easier to vote for them than Trump or Clinton.

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, supports having private industry deal with environmental damage and “phasing out” Social Security according to their platform, and I suddenly was glad I wasn’t really thinking of voting for him.

That left the Green Party as the last substantial third party. I liked the message of Jill Stein, their nominee in both 2012 and in 2016. I liked reading about a 30 hour work week, paying elected officials the average worker’s salary, and especially proportional representation and preferential voting.

Her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, seems a bit too radical for electoral politics. This is a shame, because I agree with him on a lot, but it’s how things are in this country. The Green Party’s anti-nuclear energy stance and uncertainty about WiFi make me a little uneasy about the party.

So, I’m left without a party to emphatically vote for. I wish I could cast my vote for Hillary, but I feel that she’s just such a poor campaigner that she’s trying to push me away, and her supporters certainly finish the job with any push to the left. I looked at the Libertarians for about thirty seconds before moving on. I like Stein and Baraka, but some views are a little strange.

American democracy shouldn’t be like this. Out of the millions of incredibly intelligent, honest, hard-working, and caring people we have in this country, we narrow it down to these four, and realistically two people? If this election was supposed to give me hope in the system, it’s doing a poor job. I don’t know whom I’m going to vote for, and as time goes on, I’m finding it’s not getting any easier.