If the media is to be believed, an awful lot of people are pissed off this election, and their rage is particularly focused on the Republican Party. People who might normally vote Republican out of self-interest or as the lesser of two evils are expected to turn against the GOP in protest of their failures in Iraq and assorted scandals. Whether this is a real trend or just the media repeating the wishful thinking of the frustrated and disempowered left is an open question that will be settled tomorrow.
Assuming that there really is this discontented vote out there, there are a lot of moderate Republicans, socially conservative Democrats and irritated independents who aren't sure how best to express their displeasure. The obvious way to strike out is to vote against Republican incumbents and cast from power the party that many voters feel has let them down in a number of ways in the last few years.
The number of these alienated and unaligned voters has been growing, to the point where today they actually outnumber either of the major political parties. There's a pretty good chance that you're one of them.
To many — including pollsters and the media — it seems inevitable that a protest vote means a vote for the Democrat challenger to a Republican incumbent. This is based on the reasoning that voters always choose the lesser of two evils, and that recent events have placed the Republicans at least marginally ahead of the Democrats in the race to be the most evil and destructive political party in America. Wow, that's some title to lay claim to.
However, consider this. What aspect of the Republican's slide into disfavor has in any way made the Democrats more attractive than they were in 2004, 2002, and 2000 when you voted against them because they seemed marginally more repellant than the Republicans were? The truth is that they're still just as bad as they were then; they just seem a bit less slime-covered by comparison.
So, here's the question. Is your protest vote really a good idea when it does nothing to actually improve your situation? Or to put it another way, is there really a right choice when you're choosing the lesser of two evils? Are you making a positive and meaningful decision when you choose between being punched in the nose and kicked in the nuts? Is the bully going to say, "I really respect you and take you seriously because you took it in the nose instead of between the legs" or is he just going to kick you in the side as he wanders off laughing.