For the vast majority of Americans, the answer is no. Here is the breakdown on why.
First, Most voters will vote for a Republican or a Democrat. Second, most Americans voting for on of the above is not a a so-called “swing state”. If you are in a a red state and vote Democrat, you already likely feel your vote is wasted because your state is going Red anyway. If you are a Republican in a blue state, the same applies. And in both cases, the individuals’ feeling of it not mattering is correct.
But what isn’t realized is the same is true for the Republican in a Democrat state, and a Democrat in a Republican state, and for the same reason. If you’r state is going (red|blue), then your vote to continue it is not really effective - the state is already going that way. Now, for those who disagree note again I said the states that are not so-called “Swing states”. The reason these states are not considered swingers is they don’t change often enough, if at all in the past several decades. So any arguments of “well maybe it could” should be held for later.
So, right there we could stop. Right there we could show your vote for either a Democrat or a Republican in a swing state doesn’t matter because overall it is decided already who your state will vote for.
But what about the so-called swing states? Won’t voters there have their vote count? Again, sadly, not if they vote for a Republican or a Democrat. But the reason is slightly different for these cases. Here, despite a feeling their vote matters because the candidates spend so much money on getting it, these voters’ votes for either of the two major parties will not count.
These votes won’t count because you are still voting for whom they want you too. Campaign finance laws limiting your rights to free speech are not about corruption. If they were they’d let you spend as much as you want however you want, but have to publicize it immediately. They are about preventing an effective challenger to their duopoly.
Despite claims to the contrary, the biggest challenges to the status quo is not someone from inside of it, but someone outside. The last time we saw this was Ross Perot. Why was he able to tap into the discontent we had with the bi-partisan election system? Because he had his own money to fund his run. Had he not pulled out when he did, I believe he would have been in the White House. IIRC despite pulling out he still obtained 19-20% of the vote in the end.
This is the reason to be for PACs and “Super-PACS”. It isn’t to counter the other guy, it is to counter the third-guy who has her own money. But I digress a bit. The intention of this aside is to demonstrate why voting for either the Republican or Democrat is still a waste: because it perpetuates the “lesser of two evils” system they have in place.
In every race we have candidates beyond the two that get the press time. Be they Libertarian, Green, Reform, or whatever, we have other options. Most who are not staunchly partisan when asked say things such as “I’d love to vote for <person> but they simply can’t get enough votes and I don’t want to waste mine.”
Despite the clear self-fulfilling prophecy those statements are, the underlying premise that their vote, if cast for the guy opposing the other guy they don’t want in, is wasted otherwise. As I have shown here, this assumption is false. But there is a strong silver lining in this seemingly dark cloud. Freedom.
Once you realize that voting for one of the “Red Vs. Blue” POTUS campaigns is a waste regardless of what state you are in, you can realize the freedom you have. You are freed from the “vote for the lesser evil” syndrome, and can finally look at where your vote would do the most real good: someone else.
As a libertarian I would hope you vote for someone who doesn’t want to increase government’s involvement in our lives and businesses. But as a realist and pragmatist, I want you to vote for whomever you wantto be president. Don’t vote just to keep “the greater evil” out of office. Don’t vote for an evil, even if you consider it less evil. Don’t “not vote” either as that is effectively a vote for the continuation of the bipartisan system.
Vote for someone other than the Republican or Democrat.
While it is true that if those who are dissatisfied with the will have the most impact if they rally behind one candidate, as we saw with Perot, maybe the strongest statement we can make is if 20% or more vote for people other than the two bipartisan candidates.
Simply vote for someone other than the Republican or Democrat. The person doesn’t have to be your perfect candidate. After all, not doing so means doing the same thing. Just don’t waste your vote by tossing it in the bin with all the others.