Melissa Joan Hart, the actress best known for her roles on Nickelodeon’s “Clarissa Explains It All” and the WB’s “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” announced Wednesday she is joining the Gary Johnson campaign for president as his Connecticut campaign chair.
Hart, who has been an open conservative in Hollywood circles and endorsed Mitt Romney for president in 2012, is disappointed in the choices the major parties are offering for president, she told People magazine.
‘I want to break away from this two-party system and I think it’s important for people to know that there’s another candidate out there who really toes the line between Democrat and Republican,’ says Hart, who has a home in Connecticut. ‘I mean he’s Libertarian. But socially he’s liberal, but fiscally conservative.’
While Hart herself isn’t technically within the millennial age range at 40, her characters were ’90s TV staples for the millennial set. Clarissa Darling was Nickelodeon’s first female lead. She was off-beat, confident, snarky, and a tech nerd, defying stereotypes without ever feeling like she was written with the express purpose of defying stereotypes. She’s been called TV’s “original badass female heroine” by Bustle.com.
“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” was a reboot of an Archie-era comic, which cast Hart as a more traditional American teenager whose quirks had to be hidden because they included telekinesis and cosmic powers. Many millennials grew up with Hart, and some of us may have even watched her in the unabashedly corny nostalgia vehicle “Melissa and Joey” while on maternity leave and thought it was delightful, thank you very much. It co-starred none other than Joey Lawrence of ’90s heartthrob and abortive hip-hop career fame.
All of this makes Hart (and her characters) a bit of a millennial icon. Her electoral decisions this time around feel emblematic of the millennial generation, won so convincingly by Barack Obama but thoroughly unconvinced by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. About one-third of millennial voters are in a third-party camp at the moment, most of those for Johnson over the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
The tone of coverage of these millennials, and their determination to vote third party, is a combo of desperation and condescension, as in this passage from the New York Times:
The vast majority of millennials were not old enough to vote in 2000, when Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party nominee and, with the strong backing of young voters, helped cost Vice President Al Gore the presidency.
‘Ralph who?’ said David Frasier, a junior at Charleston Southern University.
But special snowflake syndrome extends to voting, and a millennial who believes his every waffle is important enough to Instagram (guilty) might just believe he doesn’t owe any politician his vote, not matter how many Ralph Naders you try to teach them about. Further, a millennial who has been told two elections over by the entire Democratic Party that voting is a transcendent, beautiful, fulfilling, emotional moment when you feel like you’re changing the world for the better might not trudge dutifully to the voting booth for a depressingly transparent, corrupt career politician.
Now, if Blossom goes Jill Stein, we’ll know the parties really have a problem. In the words of Joey, “Whoa.”