After months of primaries, debates, Twitter feuds, and email scandals, the Republicans and the Democrats will soon officially announce their 2016 presidential candidates. The presumptive nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off in November as the country determines who will occupy the White House for at least the next four years. Of course, many people have been far from convinced to vote for either Trump or Clinton, and some have suggested they would vote for none other than Bernie Sanders. However, as the election approaches, Daily Show host Trevor Noah has strong words for Bernie or Bust proponents.
"If you're a Democrat and you say, 'I'm not voting for Hillary,' then you are voting for Trump. Let's not beat around the bush — not voting is voting," he told reporters at the RNC convention in Cleveland. He also said of the fact that many Americans are not happy with their options this year, that it might force the country to move away from a two-party system, adding "You are not living in a two-party world. There is not left or right, there are varying degrees, there is nuance," The Huffington Post reported.
However, this concept is not so foreign to Americans of voting age. Earlier this year, a Data Targeting poll found that 55 percent of respondents wanted an independent candidate to challenge both Trump and Clinton. Likewise, when 13 percent of Americans would rather a meteor hit the earth than vote for Clinton or Trump, you know there must be a problem.
Noah's words aren't revolutionary, and critiquing a two-party system while also telling Americans to vote within that system does nothing to foster political change. According to The Huffington Post, Noah said "If you're a young person in America, this is your country going forward — don't be fooled by the fact that old people are running it now. ... There will be a time when you look back and go, 'Wow, I could have changed that, and now I live in a wasteland.'" But many young Americans already know exactly what's at stake.
In fact, 91 percent of young voters (aged 28 or younger) surveyed for the Data Targeting poll were in favor of an independent candidate on the ballot — one who represents the interests and issues that are most important to this age group. Young people have been at the center of social movement organizing and have been the demographic to push for more inclusive and revolutionary policy change. If we remember correctly, it was Sanders who excited young voters, and revived them enough to vote in the primaries — and more young people supported Sanders in the primaries than they did either Clinton or Trump or both combined.
Noah's point is important, sure. He is suggesting that voting for neither candidate is still a vote. He is suggesting that there is too much at stake not to vote for Clinton. However, he is also suggesting to change the two-party system, while also voting within that system and supporting a Clinton presidency that won't bring anyone the liberation or change that is so important. If people are tired of having to vote within a system that neither represents them nor their interests, perhaps it's time to put the "lesser of two evils" to rest.
There are other ways to cast a ballot without giving the White House to Trump, and that's what we should be talking about in order to make a point that it's time to fix the United States' "democracy" problem.