Every presidential election that comes around reminds me of how my vote doesn't count. I live in a reliably red state, so reliable that candidates don't bother visiting us. And thanks to the winner-take-all electoral apportionment, my vote is effectively erased when the map lights up.
In the 2016 election, Trump won the electoral college despite losing the popular vote by three million or so. He blamed his popular vote loss on illegal voting in California. No, that's not it at all. Those three million votes included mine. One out of every three voters in Kentucky cast a ballot for Clinton in 2016, yet none of them were reflected in the electoral college.
So why do I vote in every election? Because I love my country. I would never forgive myself if I didn't participate in a chance to shape it for the better. Because my vote should mean something, even if it doesn't determine the outcome. Because my fellow Americans might someday surprise me.
Someday we might progress to the point where we get rid of the winner-take-all apportionment. There's no real reason why a vote in the state minority party shouldn't count. Someday we may even discard the electoral college. There's no real reason that a vote in Wyoming should count 3.6 times as much as a vote in California.
The electoral college has outlived its usefulness, even if you were taught that its purpose was to turn the election over to wise men who would prevent the common people from electing someone who wasn't competent- you see how well that works. The real reason for the electoral college was to appease slave states, since it would count enslaved people toward representation without allowing them to vote.
The outmoded system of federal elections in the US now tilts power to states with smaller, rural populations, meaning people who prefer to stay spread out and away from other people, and diminishes the power of people who prefer to live in densely-populated areas and care what their neighbors are going through. Still, each of those states have more and more people over time who see beyond what their inner circle thinks, or what one TV channel says. And that's why I have hope for the future, and why I will continue voting every chance I get.