A tax on people who can’t do maths.
That was how my parents defined the lottery when I was young.
I’d urge any American to vote third-party if either there was a candidate I believed in or I wasn’t familiar enough with the Electoral College, and why it exists, not to be able to do the math.
If you’re in a state that goes red at the end of Election Day night, and you vote third-party, your vote has exactly the same practical effect as though you’d voted for the Republican-branded candidate. Likewise in blue states, your vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, the Democratic-branded candidate benefits because the other side would have had to change two people’s votes to see any benefit. Stein and Johnson know, and their supporters often admit, that they’re not going to carry a single state; they’re not likely to gain any electoral votes, much less the 270 required for victory, at all.
And in the US, those are the only votes that count.
I expect that, no matter which brand comes out on top, we’ll see the largest emigration, proportionately, from the US over the next several years than has happened since the Vietnam War. If your choices are limited to a reprehensible psychopath and a corrupt sociopath, then many people will see “fight or flight” as the only real life options left.
Why do I call them “brands”? As a teen and young man, I held Franklin Delano Roosevelt personally, directly responsible for my existence; had his Government not given hopeless people hope, my parents would never have (separately, at that point) moved cross-country and started new lives in California, where they met after growing up. That kept our entire family voting the straight Democratic ticket for decades. Yet in the last 35 years or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re no longer truly competing parties so much as they are brand names attached to rump wings subsumed into the Corporatist Party. The populist revolts that nearly led to a Trump v Sanders shoot-out damaged both brands, hopefully irredeemably.
If you’re not paying directly and visibly for the product or service you think you’re getting, including representation in government, then you are the product being sold.