What else does a candidate for President need?
“I’m an Independent voter. I have a preference towards Hillary at this point but I’m undecided,” said a middle-aged government worker who was attending the event with his 14-year old son, Ryan.
“If I could vote, I would vote for Jill Stein [from the Green Party],” said Ryan. “I think the mainstream media and the DNC [Democratic National Committee] have done a very unfair job” of covering the Democratic primaries.
“I’m still undecided,” said a 22-year old man. “I think the media has not been fair towards Sanders. They showed a preference towards Clinton and Trump.”
Still others completely rejected the idea of voting for Clinton in November. “I would rather eat my own hand than cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, and you can quote me on that,” said Nikki Diamantopoulos from Baltimore County, Maryland.
A socialist since she was 17, Diamantopoulos said this was her first time getting actively involved in a presidential campaign. She started a Facebook group called Forward Movement to facilitate a nonpartisan civil discussion about political and social issues. She also designed a Bernie Sanders T-shirt which she gave away to people who made a donation to the Sanders campaign. Through this exchange, she helped raise $2,000-$3,000 in donations to Sanders.
Diamantopoulos said she has been verbally advocating for Sanders in her rural part of Baltimore County, where a number of her neighbors and family members are Republicans and Libertarians. Through open and civil conversations, she said she shared Sanders’s platform and many of her neighbors have switched to supporting him. If he were to get the nomination, her lifelong Republican mother has pledged she would vote for Sanders.
Although rejecting Clinton, Diamantopolous did not indicate whom she might favor in the fall, but she did not seem to support Trump either.
One young man named Adam, who recently moved to D.C. from Virginia, told me that he would vote for Trump if Clinton becomes the nominee: “The way I see it, either Bernie fixes it, or Trump breaks it. I’d rather it be broken than continue on with the status quo under Hillary. … We need a change so people realize the system is broken.”
“My game plan in November is exactly the same as before [if Clinton takes the nomination] — I’m voting for Bernie Sanders,” said Sean Simmons, 27. “We fought to protect a democracy that isn’t even a democracy. … Maybe I’m being stubborn, but I couldn’t vote for any candidate who thinks it’s perfectly okay to cheat in elections. I know people who died for that.”
American and District of Columbia flags at a Bernie Sanders rally on June 9, 2016, in Washington D.C. (Photo credit: Chelsea Gilmour)
Sean said he would write in Sanders. He said he wouldn’t be badgered into voting for the so-called lesser-of-two evils, adding: “The American spirit is not one run by fear. This is a revolution — I’m not afraid.”