I am an admitted pessimist, who thinks being jaded about politics is not defeatist, it is being a realist.
The electoral system is rigged. We basically taught other countries how to do elections, they just were sloppy about hiding their corruption. If we are good at anything in this country it is hiding our dirty little secrets. With the help of the textbook publishing cabal, corporate media and voting machines that can add up and exclude by design (for the administration who gives the contract) we really don't know where our votes go or what the real numbers were/are.
From the get go (1787) the Founding, slave owning, Indian killing, Fathers of this country never trusted the possible 'tyranny of the masses' and set up the Electoral College to keep the status quo. Nothing the people have wanted and gotten has ever come from politicians unless there was a ton of people marching and fighting in the streets. This is U.S. history folks.
The drama we are treated to every four years about which rich person gets to pay back his donors at the end of the election has not served anyone but those who get crumbs/jobs from the fallout. To take Obama or Clinton as being different only works on the level of who is smoother in front of a camera and who can deliver the speeches and generalities best.
The Center for Responsive Politics a Washington, D.C. based (whatever that is worth) "non-partisan, non-profit research group" publishes www.opensecrets.org which shows the campaign finance reports for all politrickians. This money web feature is my favorite because it simply "illustrates links between candidates and donors. Included in this web are the 5 top contributors and industries (including ties) to each of the candidates we profile." Looking at the similar donors and the industries that are placing their bets/contributions on both candidates, and in some cases from both parties, you can see which industries will be making the money when the contracts are handed out after all is said and done. You can also look at old election numbers and see the trends there. In short it is all bought and paid for, enjoy the show if you want but don't believe it.
I do vote, but for the candidate who matches my ideals most closely. They never win. This year I began cheering on Kucinich. He matched my beliefs by 93% on this website. Obama comes in at 49% and Clinton at 39%. If voting is about supporting those who best reflect who you would want to represent you, based on having similar beliefs, then my choice is clear. If we have made voting about being a part of the winning team, well by all means play along.
Now that Kucinich is out of the race, I have to go with Ralph Nader. He is a man who has lived a life fighting good fights for the people. If you need to know more about him see "An Unreasonable Man." Or just Google him. Sure he will lose, but the message will be sent. I hope.