On Thursday night, Hillary Clinton officially accepted her nomination as the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential candidate. There's a lot at stake in this election, but there was a lot at stake even before both parties nominated their respective candidates — and perhaps that's partially why it's so hard for Americans to get behind Clinton just because she is the nominee. After Clinton's acceptance speech on Thursday, many took to Twitter to share why they are "with her now," or why they're still not with her, using the Twitter hashtag #ImWithHerNow.
Where to put a vote in the general election is still not a simple decision for many, and despite what some argue about the party being unified, it doesn't seem that everyone is on the same page. There are those who are with Clinton, and who have always been with Clinton. There are some who have said they support her now that she is the nominee, and others who support her now despite her being the nominee.
There are, of course, the "Bernie or Bust" supporters, some of whom might back Hillary, some who aren't sure, and others who don't plan on voting at all. But even outside of the Bernie or Bust camp, there is an important conversation happening across the country about for whom to cast a ballot this fall. Some are saying they'll never vote for Clinton; others are saying they won't vote at all. Even if there is unity in the idea of stopping a Donald Trump presidency, there is not unity behind the candidate who will make that happen, and best serve the American people and the world. Even though we hear most about the two major parties in American government, at the end of the day, our politics exist on a spectrum that goes beyond two parties.
Many left-leaning Americans understand that a Trump presidency would be detrimental and would exacerbate many of the problems facing Americans and other nations. However, some have asked whether Clinton would be much better, citing previous Clinton terms and prior Clinton-backed policies. One Sanders supporter, Kirk Voorhees, spoke with Vox about that dilemma, telling them, "I just feel like the Clintons have betrayed me over and over."
Here's what people had to say on Twitter using the #ImWithHerNow hashtag.
Those Who Feel They Don't Have A Choice
For some, it is hard to consider putting support behind a candidate they feel doesn't represent them. However, some voters now feel they don't have any choice but to vote for Clinton this fall. That's because, with our current electoral process, there is simply no way of keeping Trump out of the White House without Clinton winning the election. For those who feel they have to vote for someone, only to stop another candidate, there really is no choice in their vote.
Those Who Will Never Vote For Her
Alyssa Batchelor, who shared the above tweet, has been a Sanders supporter over the course of the primaries. She echoed what some voters have expressed in her reasons for never wanting to vote for Clinton — that it plays into voting out of fear.
Batchelor tells Bustle, "Mostly it's the attitude from the DNC and HRC's campaign and supporters that I have to vote for [Clinton] because not voting for her is a vote for Donald Trump. I hate that narrative because when it comes down to it, it's fearmongering. We need to look at all of our options, third parties included, and really reflect hard on what we want our next President to embody. We can't let fear dictate our politics. So I will be voting my conscience come election day, and that won't be for Hillary Clinton."
Batchelor also shared that she would be voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Those Who Will Vote Third-Party
Some Americans are opting to vote third-party this year, even with the vilification that they're "throwing their vote away." In truth, any vote used is not a vote wasted. The logic that anyone who votes their conscience is throwing away their vote is also undemocratic, given that individuals should freely have the choice to decide where their vote is going, which our system does not currently support.
There are not only two ways of voting and representing oneself in this country. Politics and beliefs exist on a spectrum that goes beyond simply the Democratic and Republican parties.
Those Who Don't Know If They'll Even Vote
Some Americans are tired of feeling like they have to vote for the "lesser of two evils." For decades, voters have felt the need to vote one way to stop another from the White House, even if they don't necessarily agree with their vote. This year, some are saying they're not voting at all. Perhaps the reasoning has to do with feeling that the lack of good choices for the White House can be changed by not encouraging the democratic system to repeatedly co-opt voters based on fear.
At a protest outside the DNC this week, one Sanders supporter, named Jeremy Thompson, spoke to the Intercept about how it's important to vote your conscience, and not sign "over our democracy out of fear [for Trump]." Thompson suggested that, while the idea of a Trump presidency was something he hoped to avoid, he "won’t blame himself if that happens. That’s on the Democratic Party."
At the end of the day, it's not so simple for many voters to simply cast a vote for Clinton. There are important nuances in the conversation that necessarily go beyond stopping Trump. For instance, we have already seen years of Clinton policies, we have seen Clinton's militaristic campaigns in Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, and we have seen the effects of the 1994 crime bill that led to the mass incarceration of black Americans.
However, a Trump presidency is certainly no positive outcome. If anything, Trump will have the power to appoint Supreme Court justices in his presidency, and that's not something that we can risk. On a potentially brighter side, if you do not live in a swing state and have reservations about your vote, you might find some comfort in knowing that you have a better opportunity at voting your conscience. Swing states include Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. If you don't live in those states, you have slightly more freedom at the polls this fall.
No matter what you decide to do this fall, no matter where you do or do not put your vote, make sure you are invested in local elections as well. Don't simply vote for president, vote down the entire ballot. Make sure you are represented in your community. Make sure you organize to hold our next leader accountable no matter who that may be. Don't stop taking to the streets. Don't stop making change.