The TV media outlets, especially the polarized news ones, spend hours and hours this year covering elections - especially the presidential election. I'd like to tell you your vote matters for president, but it probably doesn't. If you live in Texas, California or New York (our three most populated states) your vote doesn't count. If you live in New Hampshire vote counts, but the state south of the Granite State which has 5 times the population, Massachusetts, your vote doesn't matter. If you live in the south outside Virginia, North Carolina and Florida - your presidential vote is worthless.
The electoral college (which won't disappear until it costs the Republicans an election, as it already cost the Democrats and Al Gore an election - which didn't really turn out too well for any of us in the long run) makes roughly 2/3rds of the voting population fairly "voiceless", because their states are locked in with a certain party. But there is hope. I guess "hope" isn't such a great word though, right?
I'll be voting for Gary Johnson in November. I don't agree with the entire platform of the Libertarian Party - I'm just not that afraid of government unless they are invading random countries in the Middle East (but you have to give the Libertarians credit for being just as upset at democrats for health care reform as they are for Republicans in the Bush administration starting wars). I do like the platforms on gay rights, non-entangled foreign policy, medicinal marijuana and women's rights. Gary Johnson's slogan "Live Free" could just as easily be "Live and Let Live" but it could also be "Live and Let Die".
Gary Johnson vetoed 47% of the bills that came to his desk the first six months of his governorship due to spending concerns and non-simplified pork - bills with an agenda outside the scope of the spending. Johnson made major education reforms from his first to second terms as governor, which were mostly successful. He also was known for a successful approach as a border state with immigration and drug policies.
Back to why I'll vote for Johnson. There's no incentive for either party to make any changes to this system. Republicans have the "religious right" locked up and with citizens united and the increased financial electoral power of corporations, they've done the political move of destroying (through vilification) all unions. Republicans are going to crush the Dems financially for many years. Democrats, on the other hand, have swung so far to the middle that they are almost pre-Reagan republicans. Because much of the far right is xenophobic and another set of the right that believes in a strong pre-emptive military the Democrats are going to have a huge advantage with minorities and women. They are the underdogs, financially, but have enough power in the government not to be "voiceless" (I use that word again for a reason). There's no incentive to change any of this. We'll hear about voting for president as positioning for supreme court justices and Roe vs. Wade for the rest of our lives. Introducing a third party into the mix will force the Republicans back toward the center, push the democrats left. The Libertarian Party is not a moderate party; they are a merging of extreme views. This is the perfect election for their interjection.
If I lived in a state where my vote had electoral power, I'd be voting for Obama. What it comes down to, the right has tried to paint a mediocre president as Bush the democrat. If you don't believe me, try this experiment - go on twitter and search #Romney and then #Obama. Read the intelligence level of the positions opposed to both candidates. That's not to say there isn't legitimate criticism of Obama (I'm constantly reminding voters who think Romney's tax rate is unfair that it's existed in Obama's government - I think Obama is just trickle-down light when it comes to economics - but I also think he hasn't had much choice economically since the House went to the Republicans in 2010). Obama is not a muslim who hates the United States and is a socialist - that's stupid - he's just a weak leader at times economically who is helping the rich get richer. Obama "threw money away in the stimulus" but the money did mostly go to American citizens unlike the bridges we build in Iraq that went to Iraq and Halliburton. Obama also doesn't have embarrassing things like DOMA and Don't Ask Don't Tell attached to his presidency like Bill Clinton, but I do wish Obama had gone with a budget plan more like Clinton.Health care reform under Obama was a good start, but Obama wasn't strong enough a leader to do what should have been done in full.
The Republicans are probably going to lose this election - and they've done it to themselves by nominating a candidate who is John Kerry without the Purple Hearts. Mitt Romney was a moderate republican governor who had gay marriage (which he did not support, for the record) and state-lead health care reform come into place during his unpopular governorship. Hard to drive the right with that record. His business record, when analyzed, was about making money for Bain, rather than improving the country economically (which makes sense, he was a businessman, not a politician). Romney did a good job with the Olympics in Salt Lake City, has moderate views (at least talk of bipartisanship too) but you never heard about these things until the last month (a mistake, not a calculated play if you ask me). Romney plus a far-right House just means a far-right government, Romney as a puppet for the right. Everything he said in the debates about reproductive rights and keeping parts of health care reform like coverage of pre-existing conditions will become "flip-flops". Take a look at Romney's record in Massachusetts on job creation, popularity among voters and budget compared to Johnson's tenure in New Mexico. Try to justify why Johnson got no traction in the primaries. It's not easy. Couple that with the disenfranchisement of Ron Paul supporters at the GOP Convention this year. It paints a bleak picture for the election.