The general election is finally locked in. The Republican Party has nominated businessman Donald Trump and the Democrats joined the Associated Press in nominating Hillary Clinton to complete the uninspiring two-party offerings for President. The Libertarian Party is running Gary Johnson, who is consistently polling between 7 and 13% while Jill Stein tries to draw disillusioned supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders to the Green Party. While the two-party duopoly is showing fatigue, the two third party candidates in Johnson and Stein are enjoying increased media and mainstream attention.
Republicans are uniting around Donald Trump and the reluctance factor seems to be diminishing. This isn’t uncommon after primaries reach an end. Last election cycle, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was opposed to the end by supporters of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul and to a lesser degree, former United States Senator Rick Santorum supporters. While libertarians largely went elsewhere, many Republicans swallowed their pride and pulled for Romney.
In years past, bitter Hillary Clinton supporters united around Senator Barack Obama. In addition to recognizing a need to stop Senator Obama’s Republican colleague John McCain, many Democrats also noted that the Illinois Senator represented something different from the traditional party mainstream. This apparent outsider status represented an enormous opportunity for appeal and one the party capitalized on.
Romney lost in 2012, but still gained the respect of many Republicans because he had a business background and political experience. He was well-spoken, had executive experience, and has navigated politics for some time. Whatever philosophical disagreements existed, there was at least a record on paper that was reassuring for many.
For grassroots Democrats who in a lot of ways are similar to those who backed then-Senator Obama, understanding the progressive message and being able to communicate it well goes a long way. Senator Bernie Sanders communicated the issues well enough to attract young voters and emotional progressives, while inspiring grassroots Democrats to become involved. A force like this is what boosted the current President when he first ran.
Hillary Clinton has none of this however.
Her career involves being a legal defender for pedophiles and a vengeful career politician with a dull, wooden personality. She doesn’t have the executive experience that Romney had or even Gary Johnson, who is rising as a Libertarian presidential candidate. She isn’t well spoken, often sounding awkward when trying to appear human and coming across as bitter when attempting to be firm politically.
Despite whatever Senator Sanders himself tries to communicate, Clinton has limited to no progressive credentials and many activists know this. Whether they be the independent progressives that were apart of movements like Occupy Wall Street or grassroots activists for the Democratic Party, many are outraged at the Clinton nomination and predictably refused to support her.
Even Independent voters get this, which explains why Libertarian Gary Johnson is performing better among them than Clinton.
It begs the question: do legitimate, everyday supporters of Hillary Clinton even exist? The Democratic National Committee seem to suggest not, spending a great deal of time communicating why Donald Trump is bad for America, while making little case as to why Hillary Clinton is good. The best message in defense of the former Secretary of State seems to be the fact she’s not the other guy. For partisan voters and establishment party leaders, not being Donald Trump might be enough.
But for the more principled voters and everyday Americans sick of the two-party system, this isn’t enough. Hillary Clinton won’t win their support.