By Gabe Fernandez
Protesters gathered in front of the Trump International Hotel Monday, Sept. 12 to voice their displeasure with the Republican nominee’s candidacy while simultaneously criticizing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The demonstration featured representatives from numerous national and grassroots organizations. Signs held by the crowd read, “Dump Trump or Make America Hate Again” and “Stand Against Anti-Muslim Bigotry!” The crowd also broke out into chants of “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA!”
For all intents and purposes, this appeared to be rally against Donald Trump.
The political displeasure became more bipartisan as leaders of attending organizations stepped up to speak at a microphone throughout the protest.
“Donald Trump is not the preferred candidate of Wall Street,” Brian Becker, a protester and director of the anti-war ANSWER coalition that organized the event, said in a speech to the crowd. “I think, in fact, that’s Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is also probably the preferred candidate of the military industrial complex.”
Even though ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) has been actively protesting Trump’s campaign since August 2015, the coalition maintains its political independence to fight for social justice at home and against war and opposition abroad, regardless of party affiliation, according to organizer Ben Becker.
“Wherever he [Trump] goes, our group, which is a nationwide group, we’re out there protesting him,” Becker said. “We’ll also protest Hillary Clinton because we don’t think she really represents an alternative.”
Among other protesters, the Clinton alternative did not feel viable, either. Deandre Hawkins, a protester and student at American University, compared having to choose between the two candidates of the major parties to a comical reality show.
“Other countries are laughing at us for how we’re dealing with this election,” Hawkins said. “I don’t want to choose the lesser of two evils, but if voting for Hillary means Trump will definitely not be in office, I’m all for it.”
John Brady, a member of TENAC, a D.C.-based tenant advocacy group, also felt skeptical about the democratic nominee. He believes that, while Trump is dividing the country, Clinton is not doing much to help, either.
“I have great hopes for her presidency,” Brady said. “I hope that she will address some of these issues, but I don’t really expect that.”
Last month, researchers at Monmouth University found that 35 percent of registered voters do not have a favorable opinion of either Clinton or Trump. Between the 1984 and 2012 election, that percentage never rose higher than nine percent.
Even with what seemed to be a general lack of faith in the political system, the protesters still focused on their goal of being for a brighter future for the country first and against Trump second.
“People like Trump are going to be defeated because people are going to come out in strong numbers,” Ben Becker said. “The situation is very grave right now. Young people are looking at a future with very little hope. We got to build our own hope and make our own hope by fighting for it today.”
Gabe Fernandez is a senior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. `