CLEVELAND — The Republican National Convention was about to nominate Donald J. Trump as its candidate for president. So naturally the protesters milling around Public Square had something to say about the party and its champion.
“I’m here because Donald Trump and the GOP stand for racism misogyny, homophobia, violence,” said Tom Moore, 24, of Massachusetts, holding a handmade cardboard sign reading “GRAND OLD PARTY, SAME OLD KLAN.”
“Not that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have her own track record with racist violence,” added Moore, who wore a green T-shirt, an orange batik skirt, and combat boots. “Hillary Clinton advocates racist hate, but there’s no one like the GOP.”
So which one is he going to vote for?
“I’m going to vote for Jill Stein.”
The Green Party candidate. But isn’t that just a vote for Donald Trump by proxy?
“It is a terrible gamble,” he admitted.
At a colorful mosh pit of belief, where you can't swing a cat and not hit some kind of oddball performance artist, fringe constitutional theorist or foaming religious zealot, perhaps the rarest opinions are proud Hillary Clinton supporters. Those who admit voting for her, maybe, are not exactly gushing with praise.
Erika Husby, 24, of Chicago, wore a rectangular smock painted with orange bricks and "WALL OFF TRUMP" painted in blue.
Does this mean she's supporting Clinton?
"Probably," she said, looking stricken. "I think that I will, sadly and bitterly."
Oskar Mosco, 35, a rickshaw driver (if such a thing is possible) from Santa Barbara, Calif., held a sign that said, "JUST SAY NO! TO WHITE SUPREMACY."
"I want to be able to say to my kids and grandkids that I took a stand," he said.
Does that stand include voting for Clinton?
"I haven't decided between Dr. Jill Stein and [Libertarian candidate] Gary Johnson," he said, rejecting the idea that it has to be either the Republican or the Democrat or a wasted vote.
"I don't want to support dualistic thinking," he said. "The world is not black and white. There's gray."
What's wrong with Hillary Clinton?
"I think she's a wolf in sheep's clothing," he said. "She's the 1 percent."
But persistence pays off, and finally I located Haley Corradi, 24, a high school math teacher from Minnesota who held a sign reading "LOVE TRUMPS HATE" across a background of rainbow stripes.
Was she planning on voting for Hillary Clinton?
"Definitely," she said, smiling broadly.