I would like it if people telling me to vote for their favorite candidate would decide whether they think voting is for hard-nosed, reality-based pragmatism, or pie-in-the-sky idealistic expressions of your convictions. If you’re trying to get me to vote for your favorite candidate out of hard-nosed pragmatism, you need to keep in mind that I live in Alabama, a state where somewhere around 60% of the vote will more or less certainly go to the Republican candidate no matter what I do. I could not possibly take away a single electoral vote from your least favorite candidate, or give a single electoral vote to your favorite candidate, no matter what I did at the polling place. There is no realistic case whatever for the claim that it matters whether I vote for your favorite candidate, or vote for someone else, or vote for no-one at all. If I snuck into the polling place 20 times and filed fraudulent votes, all of them for your least favorite candidate, I still could not possibly be helping your least favorite candidate get elected, because the number of electoral votes the winning candidate gets doesn’t diminish with the margin of victory.
Now when I point this out people will say that maybe I ought to vote for their favorite candidate anyway because at least that way I’ll be registering my opposition or my protest to all the awful things their least favorite candidate(s) have done or are going to do or seem likely to do. It won’t have any practical effect, but at least I am putting it out there. But then if the point of voting is supposed to be to express my deep political convictions, without any reference to the practical effects I can get out of it, why in the world would I vote for any candidate for office at all? I am an anarchist and my political convictions cannot possibly be expressed by attaching myself to a candidate for government office. If I’m going to express a political conviction, without concern for results, then I figure I may as well actually express the political convictions I believe in, not the incredibly vague and approximate cluster of convictions that might be loosely associated with the least-shitty candidate on the ballot. And the best way to do express those convictions — the ones I actually do believe in — is by refusing to participate in this ridiculous and corrupt struggle for political power.