The discussion of third parties came up many times during the DNC. This is for several reasons. First, there were many more protests at the DNC than at the RNC. These protests came from Bernie or Bust people, Green Party members, and overall “anti-Hillary, the democratic party must do better,” protestors. It brought to my attention the influence that third parties have on this election, which includes two very unpopular candidates. Second, some students in Wake the Vote are voting for Gary Johnson. I ran into Gary Johnson and his crew walking around the Cleveland public square. For many, it’s becoming an increasingly more popular option to vote for Gary Johnson over Donald Trump.
As mentioned before, there were more protests at the DNC than the RNC. This is healthy for the Democrat party. Outspoken activists who tend to lean way left, feel comfortable speaking out, and fighting for social justice. Whereas, activists do not show up at the RNC because the Republican party is that out of touch with the reality of social politics today. For example, Donald Trump and his supporters need to realize that Muslims make up a major part of our country and stereotyping them all as terrorists means that it’s time to educate yourself. Donald Trump’s classic move to throw out protesters in a violent fashion influences his supporters to do the same on the streets of Cleveland and inhibits the Republican party from moving forward (yes, Trump supporters were quite violent and aggressive towards protestors on the streets outside the arena). This tactic frightens people from speaking up about their opinions within their own party.
The protestors at the DNC are clearly more accepted than protestors at the RNC. These activists force the Democratic party to think about their platform and what they must to do to incorporate and elevate marginalized voices. The democratic party has a long way to go when it comes to elevating oppressed identities and progressives are beginning to realize that without this change, the Democrat party will continue to think that staying in the center is enough to fight for equality and justice. Thus, I argue that the protests and speak outs I witnessed at the DNC are healthy for Democratic party as long as the concerns are acknowledged and addressed; the fact that more protests were at the DNC instead of the RNC show that the Democratic party welcomes opposition in order to move forward.
Moving on to my second point: some students within Wake the Vote are considering voting for Gary Johnson. After some self discovery, I found myself really angry at third party supporters within the group and at DNC. I kept asking myself “do they really want Donald Trump to be President?” But it’s much more than that. Third party supporters not only have the right to choose who they want to vote for, but they also have a right to be angry. Nothing much has changed in the fight for equality so why stay within the two parties?
However, the two party system is an unfortunate reality of this country, but never will a third party candidate come close to winning the Presidency. Unfortunately, this is way that the system continues to operate and oppress marginalized voices. Sometimes, and especially this is the case this year, voters choose a candidate because they hate the “other” candidate more.
So, does it make sense why people are voting third party? Absolutely. Do I think it is worth voting for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein and in return, risking the chance that Donald Trump becomes President? Absolutely not.
- Hannah K. Dobie