11/05/2012 02:50 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2013

This Year, Will My Protest Vote Be the Ultimate Tie Breaker?

Today, America finally decides whether President Barack Obama will have a second term in the White House.

If you want to believe the polls, it's supposed to be a dead heat, with Obama leading by a few percentage points in many of those battleground states that Mitt Romney needs to win in the Electoral College.

And many pundits are saying that Americans will not know who will be in the White House in January until Wednesday morning -- or even later if court challenges occur in tight races in some of these states.

Why so close?

Because most Americans don't like either candidate.

From the start, this was a contest where disaffected Americans were voting more against one of the candidates than for either one of them.

And despite the clamor over the importance of "undecided" voters, I rarely found anyone among my family and friends who had not made up his or her mind long ago.

I'm going to the polls today to vote against Obama, not for Mitt Romney.

Having lost everything I worked hard all my life to the unregulated excesses of Wall Street and Washington, I've had a very rough time the past six to seven years and Obama isn't changing anything in Washington to allow me to improve my family's well-being.

Bottom line: Even if I really don't like him, I'm willing to give Romney a shot.

Both candidates are unimpressive: the president with his poor record of turning around the economy, his failure to heal the partisan climate in Washington, and his weak foreign policy that has set back this country for 20 years; Romney with his lackluster credentials as a campaigner and politician, his failure to take important economic and social positions that he once favored in order to placate Tea Baggers and the Christian right, and just his demeanor that reminds me of the rich, repulsive preppies I had to endure at college.

Our election system for the last half century has not produced the smartest, best candidates, but instead has consistently favored relatively unknown politicians who have exploited the early primaries to build their candidacies, or have used their wealth and status to build their political brand.

There has not been a president since Harry Truman, and maybe Dwight Eisenhower, that has governed this country properly.

It amazes me that as time passes, our memories fade and we look back at presidents such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and even George H.W. Bush, in reverence, despite their immense failings as leaders and politicians.

The only candidate I really had any enthusiasm for was John McCain, the maverick who took unpopular, principled stands.

When Americans had serious third party candidates, I voted for them -- the moderate and innovative John Anderson in 1980 and the quirky fiscal zealot Ross Perot in 1992.

Sooner than later, another third party candidate will rise from the American political landscape and win the presidency because our current system continues to fail Americans.

Saturday, I e-mailed the brightest political mind I know and asked him who will win today. He does not support Obama, but he wrote back that while Romney may win Florida, he is going to lose most of the other swing states and the election. He's never been wrong.

So despite the futility of voting for Romney, I will go into the voting booth to once again cast my ballot not in favor of a candidate, but as a protest against one -- but also pining for another chance to vote for John Anderson.

And who knows, even if my political guru has already proclaimed Obama the winner, in this tight election, there's always the chance that my protest vote may be the tie breaker after all.

Published in Florida Voices on November 6, 2012

Steven Kurlander blogs at Kurly's Kommentary, writes a weekly column for Fort Lauderdale's Sun-Sentinel and Florida Voices is an attorney and communications strategist. He can be reached at