Column: She can’t stand Trump or Biden. Don’t tell this ‘double-hater’ she’s crazy voting for someone else

Sen. Bernie Sanders laughs on "The Tonight Show" set with Jimmy Fallon
Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show.” The senator’s appearance made a fan of Victoria Thompson and turned her against establishment Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
(NBC via Getty Images)

By now Victoria Thompson has heard it many times. She’s crazy. She’s throwing her vote away.

Worse, those who loathe Donald Trump say she’s helping the unscrupulous ex-president reclaim the White House — even though she’s never voted for him and never will — by refusing to back Joe Biden’s reelection.

Thompson is unabashed.

“I have no responsibility to vote for the Democratic [nominee],” said the 63-year-old retiree, a Democrat for most of her life. “Their responsibility is to the citizens. They should put forward a candidate that we want to vote for.”


People like Thompson, who can’t stomach Trump or Biden, are known as “double-haters.” This election they’re all the rage. They very likely will decide the presidential contest, with most coming around by November to support one of the two major party nominees — even if it means holding their nose.

But millions like Thompson won’t cast a ballot for Trump or Biden under any circumstances. Her choice is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whom she considers the most electable of the alternatives, giving him a 30% chance of winning the White House.

“He’s got the name recognition ... and because people are so unhappy with the choices, there’s a shot,” Thompson said over lunch this week in Roseville, the Sacramento suburb where she spent three decades working as a mail carrier.

Actually, most election handicappers give Kennedy closer to a 100% chance of losing, but no matter. Thompson will support the political scion even if it means helping Trump beat Biden.

With a throaty laugh, she describes the unruly Republican’s four years in office as “a s— show.”

But she doesn’t see the aged Biden doing any better. “I think he’s just as corrupt as Trump,” Thompson said. “I think he’s just as self-serving.”


Kennedy, a long shot presidential candidate, announced his decision in Oakland, where Shanahan, 38, grew up.

March 26, 2024

Things changed politically for Thompson one night in December 2015 when she was in bed watching “The Tonight Show.”

Jimmy Fallon’s guest was independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was waging a long-shot bid to snatch the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton, the favorite of the party establishment.

Thompson had supported Democrats for president her entire life, save a 1992 vote for independent Ross Perot. She was largely fine with the results. “My 401(k) was going nuts” while Clinton’s husband, Bill, was in office, Thompson said with another deep laugh, “so I was happy.”

But disillusionment began setting in under President Obama, who promised all sorts of hope and change, including creation of a universal healthcare system that would cover every American. “And then,” Thompson said, “he didn’t give us any of it.”

Watching Sanders on late-night TV, Thompson felt something stir inside. He spoke of income inequality and a “corrupt campaign-finance system” and the way it favored special interests and the exceedingly well-off at the expense of average workers.


Thompson said she never heard anything like that from Hillary Clinton.

She became a volunteer for Sanders’ campaign and put in long hours manning phone banks throughout the Sacramento area. She won election as a California delegate to the Democratic National Convention, arriving in Philadelphia with a brightly festooned banner she created. “President Bernie Sanders,” it boldly declared amid the flowers and vines.

She hoisted the banner in defiance when Clinton supporters, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee, showed up at a rowdy delegation breakfast. She shouted along with those who jeered Pelosi and others with cries of “Election fraud!”

Thompson’s political views are a stew of far-left convictions and conspiratorial beliefs, which she explained at a pizza joint in Old Town Roseville.

She’s certain that Sanders would have beaten Clinton in California’s 2016 primary, if corrupt party officials hadn’t interceded. In fact, Thompson is convinced the entire nominating fight was rigged in Clinton’s favor and Sanders only yielded because he and his wife, Jane, were threatened.

(When Trump echoed claims the election was stacked in Clinton’s favor and called for an investigation, Sanders told him to back off.)


The senator delivered a conciliatory speech the night Clinton was nominated and appeared before the California delegation, urging Democrats to rally behind her. But Thompson was unmoved.

“The way they cheated ... there was no way” she was “just going to roll over” and vote for Clinton, Thompson said. Instead, she cast her ballot for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein.

Biden’s nomination in 2020 was the result of further Democratic chicanery, Thompson insists. Among other claims, she said the party “ran as many people as they could” — more than two dozen presidential hopefuls — “to diffuse the vote” and once more deny Sanders the nomination.

(That, however, greatly overstates the power of the party and vastly understates the tug of individual ambitions.)

Thompson again voted for the Green Party nominee in 2020, though she no longer remembers his name. It was Howie Hawkins.

President Biden isn’t the first presidential candidate to face doubts about his mental and physical capacities. Veterans of the Dole and Reagan campaigns say how they would address the issue.

Feb. 14, 2024

Thompson’s assertions may be far-fetched, but she speaks for many when she laments the choice facing the country in November.


“I’m shocked that Trump can even run at this point,” she said of the all-but-certain GOP nominee, a view that many Democrats share. “I mean, he has all these legal problems ... so how’s it even possible? It shows how broken the system is.”

As for Biden, she’s convinced — like many Republicans — that he is well past his sell-by date and lacks the mental capacity to be president.

On top of that, she said, tapping a turquoise-colored fingernail for emphasis, “Grocery prices are higher than they’ve ever been. Gas is high. People are barely making it month to month.”

Some may think Thompson is nutty for believing the things she does. Or say she’s foolish to vote for Kennedy or any other candidate with no chance to win, rather than settling for the least-bad alternative and trying to stave off something worse.

But none of that bothers her.

At least, Thompson allowed, when she puts her head on her pillow at night she’ll sleep with a clear conscience.