Stop Trump rally, RNC
Stop Trump rally at the RNC in Cleveland, July 18, 2016 Photo credit: Jon Hecht / WhoWhatWhy

Hundreds of protesters at the Stop Trump rally came to Cleveland Monday to express their opposition to the Republican nominee. Many of them traveled hundreds of miles to make their voices heard — but there is one thing many will not do to stop Trump: Vote for Hillary Clinton.

In fact, it seems as though the only thing Trump’s supporters and detractors participating in rallies outside of the Republican National Convention can agree on is their intense animosity toward Hillary.

It was reflected in the shout of a man selling Trump-themed buttons and other memorabilia — “If you vote for Hillary you’re not an American.”

It could be seen in the T-shirt that was worn proudly by more attendees than could be counted — “Hillary For Prison,” on an American flag logo designed to look like a campaign poster.

It was expressed by many of the Trump supporters WhoWhatWhy encountered. Their main reason for supporting Trump — above any other shared goal or policy — was mistrust and loathing of his opponent.

And it was of course telegraphed to millions by convention speakers who focused heavily on accusations about Clinton’s record as Secretary of State, and implicated her in the 2012 deaths of diplomats at the American embassy in Benghazi.

It was unsurprising to find this kind of hatred for Clinton at a convention organized by her political opponents. But the antipathy towards the former first lady extended far beyond that. Even those who had travelled from out-of-state just to protest Donald Trump’s nomination were against her.

RNC, 2016, Arrest

Woman handcuffed while crowd cries out, “Let her go!” and “What’d she do?”
Photo credit: Jon Hecht / WhoWhatWhy

Neither Trump Nor Clinton


“I would really love to see Bernie, but if he doesn’t get the nomination, probably Jill Stein,” said John Higbie, who had travelled from Pennsylvania for the protest. He did not think Stein could win, but said, “I want my voice to be heard whether or not I’m expecting someone to win. I’m not going to compromise my views simply to appease the opposition.”

Higbie said he was not concerned that Pennsylvania would likely be close in the coming election (a recent Quinnipiac poll had Trump leading by six points, while a Marist poll from around the same time had Clinton up by eight). He said he would not regret his choice, even if Trump winning Pennsylvania by a close margin allowed him to win the presidency.

“The entire platform is rigged,” he said.

Higbie was far from alone in his support of Stein. Stein’s name received cheers from the assembled crowd. And she was not the only alternative to Clinton people discussed.

A woman in her late 60s, Sarah Flounders, spent much of the rally passing out flyers for the Worker’s World Party (WWP) candidates, Monica Moorehead and Lamont Lilly, who will be on the ballot in her home state of New Jersey.

“Just like today’s demonstration, it’s really putting forth politically what’s needed, because we know there’s no solution with either of the two capitalist parties,” Flounders told WhoWhatWhy. “The resistance to Trump needs to come from the grassroots movement, from those who have disrupted the hate rallies, the racist rallies he’s held in arenas. Those who have shut down the message.”

Flounders sees racial disparities in criminal justice as the most important issue of the campaign, but remains unimpressed by the Democratic party’s response to this issue, despite the inclusion of the mothers of high-profile black victims of police violence, including Michael Brown and Eric Garner, as speakers at the Democratic convention next week in Philadelphia.

RNC, 2016, Black Lives Matter

Photo credit: Jon Hecht / WhoWhatWhy

Her stance was echoed by a group of Black Lives Matter activists at the event, who wore signs on their bodies stating “I’m not voting until black lives matter.”

Despite the general disaffection, there were a few prospective Hillary voters in the crowd.

Patricia Aguino and Sam Castro marched through the streets of Cleveland near the Quicken Loans Arena as part of a protest by the Revolution Club. Under a large banner showing the faces of minorities killed by police alongside signs proclaiming that “America was never great,” the two held a homemade sign declaring they were Latinos against Trump.

Both expressed their frustrations with Clinton — they had each supported Sanders in the primaries. But they both also said that when the likely alternative was Trump, voting for Clinton seemed like an easy sacrifice to make.

“I can see the reason why someone would want to vote for their principles,” Aguino, a 27-year-old grad student and resident of Cleveland, told WhoWhatWhy. But for her it was worth it to vote for the lesser of two evils, especially when the alternative, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and plans for deportations and border walls, could mean so much for the fate of Latinos affected by immigration.

“A lot of people, especially minorities, are going to be affected by a Trump presidency.”

“That’s what we should be doing,” said Castro. “It’s the same thing Bernie did — try to bring down the Republican Party, which has always been against the Hispanic community.”

“What we’re trying to do is get the right candidate that’s going to work for us.”

Stop Trump rally, RNC

“Making America Hate Again”
Photo credit: Jon Hecht / WhoWhatWhy

Trump’s unexpected primary wins against better-funded opponents supported by the Republican Party insiders arguably demonstrated the power of the ballot box in the era of social media. But that example has failed to sway the majority of anti-Trump protesters.

“Historically speaking it’s been the power of the people that’s led to the most progressive change,” said Jessica Schwartz, an activist who helped organize the Coalition to Stop Trump rally. She focused on the need to fight back against Trump’s rhetoric, but did not see voting as an integral part of that goal.

“Voting is a very small part of what needs to be done in order to achieve justice.”

Camilla Blackwell, 47, a Cleveland resident who was in the city center selling T-shirts but not for the convention or rallies, was against Trump due to his anti-immigrant views, but still said she had no desire to vote.

“I don’t see any change at all,” she told WhoWhatWhy.

Neither did Abbie Doyle, a 21-year-old grad student at Ohio University, who came to the city to document the convention hubbub as part of a school project. She said she had not voted in her state’s primary, and she refuses to vote either for Trump, who she felt was extremely bigoted, or for Clinton.

Frustrated with the choice of candidates, she complained that her vote was “basically useless.”

How the two nominees will deal with the extraordinary degree of public disengagement and broad demoralization, is the question now.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Jon Hecht / WhoWhatWhy

16 responses to “What People Won’t Do To Stop Trump — Vote for Clinton”

  1. William Gibbons says:

    I am curious about the U.S. voting system. Even if Trump wins every battleground state, Hillary could still clinch the Presidency via electoral college. So, it really isn’t the American people who decide who will be their president, is it? If I am correct, the EC consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes decides the winner. Shouldn’t this archaic system be scrapped?

  2. News Nag says:

    Oh please. Your headline is just ridiculous and an embarrassment to Who What Why. Yes, some activists and progressives, of whom I have been one for 30+ years, can’t find a way to vote for Clinton without feeling badly about themselves. And probably most of the ones active enough to be in Cleveland feel that way. But your headline, and your article too, make it sound Clinton won’t have the Obama majority behind her. Well, she will. And if how the dedicated activists feel about themselves – their self-image – are more important than voting against Trump, especially in toss-up states, then the inevitable neo-nazi bloodletting may very well be on their heads, literally and figuratively.

  3. Susan Brereton says:

    Never Hillary! I wasn’t in Cleveland, but I watched the entire Republican Convention listening to every speaker– I was surprised and impressed.after hearing so much about Trump’s alleged bigotry. He’s a centrist, moderate Republican who supports LGBT rights. That’s got to be a first! He’s not afraid of individual expression.

    Trump MARRIED an immigrant (Melania gave a beautiful speech); and supports immigration through legal, monitored channels, which is unfortunate but necessary in the modern days of ISIS & jihadists attacking the West.

    I’m anti-war & I’m relieved that Trump opposes military interventions, acting like the world’s police. He wants NATO countries to pay for U.S military bases & refuses to fall into the old Cold War Trap that Russia’s a villain. Hillary will cut a path straight to World War III. That cannot be allowed to happen. Trump opposes corruption. He wants ALL AMERICANS to enjoy opportunities for a better world. And he’s the first Republican I can recall who talked about the problems of inner cities and the need for jobs. He’s like Rudy Giuliani on that point.

    God, we’ve got to try something different. The Status Quo is a Failure. I don’t care what Obama says. It Does Not Work.

    • News Nag says:

      Dear lady, sadly you are deceived. Trump SAYS a lot. Trump is a LIAR. You gonna let that man lie right to your face? He has lied in every public thing he’s ever done. If you really think Trump, who can’t control his temper any better than a two-year-old, wouldn’t be the one to start wars all over the damned place, then you’re not just deceived, you’re a willing dupe and fool. And Giuliani? Please. He’s so tough and smart he located the city’s entire emergency operations in the World Trade Center (and has exploited capitalized on his police and firemen’s tragic deaths ever since). And you know why Trump says Mexico will pay for that wall you’re so fond of? Because no American banks will loan him any money any more. And that’s the truth. He is a bungler and a huge money loser and a money-grubber. THAT is what he’s famous for. He’s not respectable at all. What would that make you if you support him?

    • thud says:

      Trump changes positions about like the wind changes direction. He’s only saying whatever he thinks he needs to at that moment. Sure, Hillary is a hawk as well. But don’t take anything Lord Trump says at face value.

    • thud says:

      Trump rails that he will smash ISIS and take the oil for the US. Everybody who only hears what they like will be happy with Lord Trump because he says everything.

  4. Shrapnel says:

    “Trump’s unexpected primary wins against better-funded opponents
    supported by the Republican Party insiders arguably demonstrated the
    power of the ballot box in the era of social media.” And the flagrant and widespread election fraud by the Clintonistas demonstrated the power of the ballot box to be a dangerous illusion.

  5. Robert says:

    330 million political prisoners with the appearance of a choice through voting. Only 30 percent are eligible to vote and they are torn between the Fascist Repub’s or the Fabian Socialist Dems. Not much of a choice considering they are all owned and operated by the monied cartels of corporate, Banking and military industrialists.

    So a few hundred insiders presented you with 2 very similar choices. Then less than (33%)66 million people decide the fate of the other 262 million and untold unborn ones forever. Remember that black boot at the end of Orwell’s-“1984”? That is not democracy, especially considering the outcome is always on the Left of center continuum. An uninformed populace pathetically (begging)voting for empty promises and whatever loot they hope to get if their side wins.

    War, Poverty, police state tyranny are the top of the list of real possibilities. Freedom and Liberty are not even a hope in this rigged game. The only answer is Peaceful abstinence from participation in the corrupt scheme. Despite the huge intimidating militarized police presence, everyone should attend the protests outside of these rigged conventions and demand a redo from the ground up.

    Amerexit. Let’s just go back to 50 or more separate states as existed with the articles of confederation, and thumb our noses at centralized ruling class of pre-chosen families and corporatocracy . Civil disobedience is the American way.

  6. Paul E. Merrell, J.D. says:

    @ “How the two nominees will deal with the extraordinary degree of public
    disengagement and broad demoralization, is the question now.”

    No. The question now is how third party candidates and stay-at-home voters will gain enough clout to cost the Democrats the election. Then we’ll see some real movement in the Democratic Party.

    • News Nag says:

      No, Paul. You won’t see real movement in the Democratic Party. I wish it were so too. But that’s not how either party has worked in the past, not even once.

    • Paul E. Merrell, J.D. says:

      Maybe you haven’t been around long enough to remember what happened to the Democratic Party after Nixon won office twice because those who were peace and civil rights-minded stayed home in droves. There was a near revolution within the Democratic Party over issues of inclusiveness and support for foreign wars; the Democrats ran and elected a Progressive peace candidate, Jimmy Carter, who ended the draft on his second day in office and got a good start on winding down U.S. military foreign interventionism. To this day, no one dares endorse resumption of the draft.

      But a side effect of that societal decision to end the draft has been a more tech-centered U.S. military that’s able to wage war from afar without many U.S. casualties and a resulting host of subsequent military foreign interventions. It’s past time to deal with that problem by refusing to vote for either Clinton or Trump. A vote for a War Party candidate is a vote for war, a vote against the Rule of Law governing warfare; a vote for a Peace candidate is a vote for peace and for compliance with the Rule of Law. No amount of lesser evilism can morally justify a vote for a War Party candidate. Those who do will have blood on their hands.

      Defeatism and lesser evilism are the *only* reason that Progressives are not in full control of the Democratic Party. Lesser evilism is a fallacy and it needs to be called for what it is, a step on the road to the greater evil rather than a step back. Those who vote for war also need to be called out and urged to publicly defend their endorsement of the violent empirical ambitions of the current Establishment. Because that is what they are endorsing with their vote.

    • thud says:

      The same things will affect the republican party only they have a smaller base.

  7. MrLiberty says:

    Never in our history has it been more clear that the two-party oligarchy has completely failed this nation. Never has it been more clear that all of our problems originate in and propagate from government. Never has anarchy, or more correctly, anarcho-capitalism, been more attractive to those who have had the courage to see through the veil of what Larkin Rose accurately calls “The Most Dangerous Superstition” – that anyone has the right or legal authority by any means, to rule over anyone else. Time for all to seize upon this moment and look hard at what we have willingly allowed others to do to us and to change – first our minds – then the course of history.

    • News Nag says:

      Never is a long time, MrLiberty. And it’s ‘always’ wrong.

    • Paul E. Merrell, J.D. says:

      Mr. News Nag, you are changing the subject by nitpicking. What about the merits of the rest of what Mr.Liberty said?

      Personally, I disagree with MrLiberty. I see government as a necessary evil that draws its only just powers from the consent of the governed. In other words, I have found the second of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government to be the only of the many legal philosophies I have studied thus far that has a prayer of providing feasible guiding principles for government.

      One must keep in mind that there is no such thing in the physical world as a government. The “government” is composed of people and we have handed its powers to the wrong people. Keeping the wrong people out of government, or failing that removing them from government is fundamental to peaceful change in the U.S.

  8. bilding says:

    I was a stalwart admirer of Bill Clinton and very happy when he won against George H W Bush, despite the sex scandal. Likewise, Obama inspired me with his message of “Hope and Change” following the horrendous 8 years of Baby Bush and his slick, devious corporate puppet masters. Although I was ineligible to vote for either I would had steadfastly been a supporter of both. Not until the Bernie Sanders campaign caught my attention 7 months ago, and I started looking hard at who he is, why he was running, and what he hoped to accomplish should he become President, did I come to realize just how astonishingly extensive both Clinton and Obama sold out their promises to their constituents. With Clinton, he simply doubled down on the welfare queen diatribe of Ronald Reagan, and granted he largely stayed away from the foreign interventions of Reagan and international strife, he certainly laid the groundwork for inequity at home. Prisons for profits saw the nightmarish escalation of largely minority incarcerations for even minor crimes, and repeal of Glass-Steagall granted virtually unfettered access by Wall Street sharks to America’s fat piggy bank, the American banking system, to backstop their reckless speculations and pillaging of American manufacturing and industrial might to finance their global aspirations. There is good reason for millions of Americans to shout out to all who would listen that enough is enough, and that Clinton, while certainly not the worst of a bad bunch (there is Baby Bush after all), nothing will get better and is likely to get even worse. As for Trump, who he really is and what he truly stands for is anybody’s guess. For almost 35 years he watched as various players made their case to hold the most powerful post in the nation, only to be disappointed in the end with virtually all of them. One after another, although where he stood on Bush Sr I am not sure. Personally, like Carter I think he got a bad rap. With each election, in response to suggestions that he should run then, Trump’s answer was the same. He believed there were those better suited than he. After Obama, for whom credit should be given for the milquetoast Obamacare effort, he too was of a mind that enough was enough, and it was time for him to run. As loathsome as his campaign rhetoric has been, there is some basis for considering that he embarked on a negotiation with the American people. Running as a Dem was out of the question, particularly since he could very well have had inside knowledge of how any candidate would be whitewashed in favor of the anointed one. And the only way to beat the vile GOP bunch was to use a figurative megaphone to out-GOP them at a game they all knew only too well. Personally, I have come to a reserved conclusion that Trump knows he will get nothing done differently from all of those he came to take issue with over 3 decades of being up close and personal to each of the various campaigns and administrations, if he fails at his quest. He knows that by playing according to establishment rules, he doesn’t stand a chance, much like Bernie Sanders. With him, it would be largely a throw of the dice as to what kind of President he would be, but to just be another huge disappointment to Americans at large is undoubtedly not one of them. There is really good reason to believe that, like any good negotiator, Trump has his buyers believing exactly what he wants them to believe at this point in the campaign. 3 months is an eternity in a political campaign, so what more he may have up his sleeve is undoubtedly in a closely held playbook. To believe he hasn’t considered various options as their need arises is to truly not know Donald Trump nor to give him credit where due.

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