‘There is no one I can vote for with a clear conscience’: Undecided voters speak out

Huge numbers of voters have yet to make up their mind in the 2016 presidential election. Here, some of them tell us why


Heather, 48 Austin, TX: Clinton will say anything to get power, Trump will just say anything

The reason I am undecided is because no candidate deserves my vote.

Im a single mother of two, full-time employed, yet living paycheck to paycheck. Im insulted that women think Im obligated to vote for Clinton because shes a woman, just as I bristled at Sarah Palin as a viable choice.

I am frustrated by the lack of candid discussion about the real issues my family and I face. Instead we waste time on gender-neutral bathrooms and whether Trump is a rude man. I lived in New York for years. Hes obnoxious like a lot of New Yorkers. Shes smug and patronizing, implying that I, a female voter, should just trust that she knows what is best for me.

Neither deserves my trust (Clinton because shell say anything to get power, Trump because hell just say anything) and Im thinking of abstaining. Its so depressing. There should be more quality options.

Skipping election day is an awful example to my children (both teens), but I cant stomach either candidate. As they say in sports, itll likely be a game-day decision.

Drew, 33 Brevard County, FL: Is it my fault the Democrats chose Clinton over Bernie?

Im not undecided between Trump and Clinton. My indecisiveness lies between Clinton and Jill Stein.

I consider myself very progressive. I agree with 97% of Steins policies (that number is verified by multiple tries of an online quiz haha). According to the same quiz I agree over 90% with Clinton, but I cant bring myself to vote for her. I simply dont believe her.

I believe her instincts are slanted towards conservatism. I believe shell say anything to get elected. Deep down, I dont believe shes liberal enough and in the end, she wont come through on what she promised.

My indecision stems from living in Florida and knowing my vote is important.

I hate Trump and his band of racist drones. He personifies everything thats wrong with America. If I vote for Stein that could ultimately mean victory for Trump. But then, is it my fault the Democrats chose Clinton over Bernie?

Is my vote a wasted one if I vote for Stein or are progressive votes for Hillary the truly wasted ones?

Brexton, 19 San Diego, CA: Since Bernie was defeated I have been trying really hard to like Hillary

Im undecided because I want to vote for a viable candidate but right now, I cant do that in good conscience.

Climate change is far and away the number one issue and Jill Stein is obviously the best candidate to address that. In terms of policy proposals and electability however, Clinton has the lead.

Since Bernie was defeated I have been trying really hard to like Hillary. Every time I come to terms with voting for her despite her long and discouraging past, she does one more thing thats exactly opposite of what liberals and progressives want, like her choice for vice-president or her continual ignoring of the #1 issue, climate change.

Everyone always says a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump and that if he gets elected it would be third-party voters faults. I ask why is it not Hillarys fault for not taking the few steps necessary to earn our vote. Bernie did it, now Steins doing it. Its not hard.

Hillary needs to make climate change and the environment a focal point of her campaign. She needs to prove that she isnt still in the hands of big money. She has only been proving the opposite again and again. I want to vote for Hillary. I just need a reason to do so.

Kate, 51 Los Angeles, CA: I dont believe theres anything that can convince me to vote for any of the above

There is no one for whom I can vote with a clear conscience.

To me, Hillary Clinton represents the establishment, and her election will, at best, bring four more years of government of Goldman, by Goldman, and for Goldman. Clinton is a vote for more of the same, a vote for the post-2008 status quo. Clinton is a vote for more wasted years.

Trump, of course, isnt even remotely qualified to be president. Trump would be, I believe, a disaster, and wed finish up even worse off than we are today. Not to mention the racism, sexism and viciousness hes actively encouraged in his supporters, traits that would be amplified with his ascension to the White House. Trump is a vote for chaos. I wont vote for Trump.

So, whos left? Jill Stein? No, too frivolous.

Gary Johnson? No.

I dont have a candidate in this race, but I feel like I have to vote because 2016 demands it. And its so late in the cycle, now, I dont believe theres anything that can convince me to vote for any of the above. Most likely Ill vote for Bernie, writing his name next to Other with a bold, black sharpie.

Chris, 50 New York, NY: Clinton needs to swing more to the left and really speak to the supporters of Bernie Sanders

Ive always leaned progressive even when it wasnt in vogue. I identify loosely as a democratic socialist. So when Elizabeth Warren failed to run and Bernie Sanders picked up the mantle I was ecstatic. My enthusiasm grew the better Bernie did. Im very proud of him fighting for the $15 minimum wage, fighting for universal healthcare, making public universities free for students, putting a stop to fossil fuels, and taking climate change seriously. Perhaps most important of all, taking to task the one percenters and making them pay their fair share of taxes. Even though Bernie Sanders had difficulty connecting with the African American voter, his overall message resonated with me. It seemed quite clear that helping the economic working class would by default be helping African Americans and all minorities in this country.

Unfortunately Bernie came up short. However, he did much better than anyone expected him to. One point of contention with Hillary Clinton is that she seems to take progressives and millennials for granted. Yes, shes absorbed some of Sanders rhetoric and for that Im grateful, but there seems no conscious effort to capture the progressive zeitgeist that has captured the energy and passion of at least half the party. Also as an African American I would be remiss if I didnt take her husbands policies to task. Super-predator comments aside, theyve been incredibly damaging to African American families, from welfare to prison reform. I dont care about emails.

Trump is a racist fascist so I cant vote for him. But Hillary comes across as untrustworthy, elitist where the rules dont apply and a insincere panderer.

Clinton needs to swing more to the left and really speak to the supporters of Bernie Sanders.

Clinton needs to come up with clear solutions to stop rampant police assassinations of black lives in this country.

Maybe then shell get my vote. Because Im liable to Just. Stay. Home.

Buck, 62 Houston, TX: I want a government that does what a government should do, and nothing else

We live so far below our potential because most American voters are ignorant and apathetic about their government. And they vote for a person instead of an idea. I want a government that does what a government should do for its citizens, and does that fully and well, but nothing else.

To me that is somewhere between Libertarian and the Green party. Libertarian in general but with futuristic education, healthcare, and welfare systems covering all citizens while proactively protecting our environment. We could afford that, and a fantastic national infrastructure too, if we got out of the war business, brought all our troops home, and stopped subsidizing everyone elses foreign wars that cost us trillions.

Most of these conflicts revolve around whose imaginary friend is the best (religion), so theres nothing really being resolved by them anyway. The money we have wasted, and continue to waste on them could be put to much better use here, and we could really lead by example, but neither the Dems or GOP are theyre still just talking.

Bo, 22 Los Angeles, CA: People say a vote for Jill is a vote for the GOP. I dont know what to do

I am afraid of voting for someone I genuinely support Jill Stein. She is woefully underrepresented in the media, and there is endless fear-mongering to dissuade anyone from expressing interest in third-party candidates. Our votes get dubbed wasted or spoiler votes.

I am at a loss. People say a vote for Jill is a vote for the GOP. I dont know what to do. No other candidate addresses the enslavement of millennials (via student debt) and the debilitating social conditions of everyday life (racism, corporate domination, low-income wage slavery, police brutality, a world of total-work, inadequate healthcare, etc) as comprehensively as Stein. Her emergency Green New Deal is just about the only thing that gives me hope for any kind of future.

Julian, 40 China, TX: I am torn between Gary Johnson and Jill Stein

Heres the dilemma I dont live in a swing state and due to the electoral college, my presidential vote is basically meaningless when it comes to casting for a Democrat or Republican. It might be hard to understand, especially to outsiders, but I am torn between Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Its not because I prefer Johnson, but because the vote would have greater visibility than Stein.

Being the two major party candidates are so incredibly disliked, I felt that for the first time, alternate parties could finally break through to the mainstream and end the two-party system that has been so disastrous for the nation; both major parties put the interests of the power elites and Wall Street above the rest of the country.

I was very enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders campaign. Despite his history of calling third-party candidates spoilers for the presidential races, I really hoped he would join the Green ticket if he lost the Democratic nomination as Stein offered, or at least endorse her. I think his campaign did massive damage to a huge number of his younger followers in regards to future voter participation by endorsing Clinton. He had the perfect opportunity to break up the Democratic party if hed only fought on after he lost the nomination.

If Bernie advocated for the Green party, far more aligned with his policies and mine than the Democrats, then I would vote for the Green party candidate this year.

Olivia, 27 San Antonio, TX: Hillary, show me that you are not a My way or the highway candidate

Im a millennial allied to no specific party. Both candidates seem determined to alienate even demonize moderate and independent voters like myself.

Future Madame or Mr President, here are my terms:

Donald, prove to me that you are not eager to incite a war with our neighbors, or relive the mistakes of Hoovers isolationist policies which led up to World War II.

Hillary, show me that you are not a my way or the highway candidate, as some of your virulent advocates make you appear. Demonstrate that those who do not share all your views on a specific topic such as gun control will nevertheless be respected as equals.

Donald, prove that you and your physically violent advocates will not spawn violent, racially charged chaos across the country and world.

Donald and Hillary, both of you repeatedly demonstrated a shocking disdain for the integrity and even sacred role of the freedom of the press. Prove to me that you will entrust journalists with truth, and not spin. The day independent journalists are encouraged, even empowered, to question your authority is the day I may trust you.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/29/trump-clinton-stein-johnson