I was listening to Ron Silver this morning on Sirius (Indie Talk, channel 110) and he was chatting with a caller about how people vote. The crux of the conversation is that many people don't vote for who they think is the best candidate. They vote for a candidate they think can win. It was agreed on the show that this was an awful thing that happens far too often. I agree 100%. People today are being taught that if they don't vote for one of the major parties (Democrat or Republican) that their vote doesn't count. This is patently false and I'll tell you why.
First, you don't have to win an election to influence change. The change may not be immediate but if candidates start seeing significant blocks of votes for people that support specific issues, they will start looking more seriously at those issues. Do you think there was change in the Republican party when Ross Perot caused George Bush to lose his re-election? I guarantee they immediately began trying to determine how to win those disaffected Republicans (and independents) back. The change may not be immediate and it may not be as much change as you hoped for, but change can happen. However, if you just line up with one party or another, how will anybody know where your true convictions lie?
I submit that your vote counts less if you submit to the pressure of voting for a major party when your convictions tell you to vote for more of a fringe candidate. The parties don't care nearly as much about the votes they have as they do about the votes they don't have. Look at McCain and Obama. They are trying their best to appeal to independents and moderates. They already have their party's votes, they need votes outside of their parties to win. You don't need them, they need you.
If you want change, vote your conscience. If you want a more balance political system, vote your conscience. If you want our elected officials to truly be accountable to the voters, vote your conscience. If you want America to be truly great, vote your conscience. We are not sheep. We are independent members of an independent society. I we want to keep it that way, we MUST vote our conscience!