Take for example Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was actually ran by the political bosses not because he was the best candidate, but because he was related to Teddy and carried the Roosevelt name when he first started in politics. No one dreamed that he would actually become president, let alone be elected to the office four times. Lincoln, too, was considered a weak candidate. Truman was supposed to lose to Dewey. Washington, hero of the Revolution, lost most of the battles he fought. Teddy Roosevelt was sure his career was over when he was nominated and became vice-president. After he was president, he feared that he would never be remembered as a great president because he had no major war.He believed every great leader had a war to lead his people through. He was told on a regular basis growing up that his life span would be short.
The problem is whether you are voting for Lincoln or Harding, you are never really sure if you will get a great leader or Richard Nixon, who won by a landside, by the way. Most politicians, be they state or federal,also come and go. A few are memorable for their leadership, like Daniel Webster or John C. Calhoun or Robert LaFollette. There are also some who will live in infamy for their abuse of the office like Joe McCarthy or Boss Tweed or Huey Long.
There is also that in not voting, you aren't just not voting for candidates. You are also not voting for ballot measures and amendments and the host of people who will effect you on a local level. No, waiting for the right candidate ignores more than just your disdain for the current crop of politicians. You also ignore those who are counting on your vote to help them make a statement by passing measures that will help schools. Your vote can help to prevent amendments from taking away the vote. Your vote may even get one that limits advertising and dark money.
So choosing not to vote as a protest really does nothing. No change will occur for you. You did not participate. If your too busy or too lazy or think your vote won't count then guess what? You aren't just ignoring a great gift you are also letting down a bunch of people who need you to vote. You are actually making sure that the oligarchs win. The specail interests and dark money are counting on you protesting or believing your vote doen't count. History may be passing you by. After all, you get the government you don't show up for.