"I'm going to sell out ethically and politically to vote for someone who I don't want running my country because he's (marginally) the lesser of two shitbags, so I can justify myself bitching about the other guy when he's in office"
The essence of democracy?
You have a strange definition of "selling out ethically and politically".
Selling out implies doing something for material or some other personal gain. What exactly do you gain from voting for lesser evil, unless officials from that party promised employment or money or something else to you personally? If you're voting for lesser evil because you think that he'll be at least marginally better for community, then that's not selling out any more than having a lunch is.
I wouldn't call this throwing away her vote. Throwing away her vote is helping a guy she doesn't want in office to get there, defeating the purpose of democracy.
You're making this an "is this glass half full or half empty" arguement. Where you put "helpng a guy she doesn't want in the office to get there" I can put "helping another guy she doesn't want in the office don't get there" and we could argue till tomorrow. But the fact is that if one guy is a lesser evil, then she'd rather have him in the office, even if marginally.
No. Vote for the person who you want running the country.
If you're waiting for some party that will be exactly to your taste, then good luck waiting forever.
It's like deciding if you'd rather have a kick in your teeth or nads.
By not voting, you aren't "avoiding the kick", you're just letting someone else decide where you're gonna be kicked. And if I was to be kicked anyways, I'd rather make the choice myself.
And when I disapprove of every campaign and every administration and every potential administration? When I fear Republicans for what they might do to this country and I fear Democrats for what they might do to Serbia (I know, it's probably irrational). How can I watch the fight between Obama and Clinton and think "hey the Democrats will do better than Republicans" the whole thing just makes me depressed.
You know that that's simplification. Democrats are the ones who made the decision about bombing simply because they were in the office at the time. This does not mean that Republicans, were they in the office, wouldn't make that decision - in fact from Iraqi experience we know that they would. And let's not forget that many other countries supported bombing, it was not a USA solo action like Iraqi. It was not a strictly USA Democratic party decision, many other factors entered into it and many people other than Democrat government officials participated in making that decision.
And if you accept that Democrats have better record in some other areas, then by not voting you are giving up right to choose how those other areas are going to be governed based on one issue where all parties would perform the same.
In any case, Democrats have proven that they can bomb a country provided that they have support of most powerful countries and major organizations. Republicans have proven that they can bomb and occupy a country even if they have dissaproval of almost every major country and organization.
Start writing your representative and senator about Serbia on a weekly basis. Hook up with a political action organization. Hell, start one online. Then go into that election booth and write-in a vote for Christopher Nititham's ass.
Indeed. Voting is not the only kind of political engagement. If you're really dissatisfied you have an opportunity of doing something through channels that are accessible to ordinary people. Politics is not just going out to election spot every two years and picking up a) or b). And it's certainly not a test where you have two answers offered, and you have to pick the right one of you'll flunk.
Vote for third party if you think that they're ok. Third parties are kept away from political influence by "you're throwing away your vote" maketing, because many people who would vote for such parties end up not voting. See those votes usually aren't enough to make third party win outright, but they are enough to strengthen it's position so that it can potentially win some future elections or at least get coalition potential in future. The political picture is not set in stone, not even in USA.
You assuming "letting." You assume there really is a choice. I just don't believe that anymore.
Maybe you're right, and then maybe you aren't. If you give up on your right to choose yourself, then you're definitely right.