It’s not a vote to protest the ruling elite, because the ruling elite will never go away. They will learn the new script — economic populism, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism — and then they will use it to get into elected office and then they will make money from it. This is not simply a part of the system. It is a feature of politics built into every system.
Not a system without a ruling elite. You certainly can’t get rid of the ruling elite by voting for more of the ruling elite, but those don’t have to be our only choices.
At least my way, there’s a chance for improvement, especially in the event that real educational progress and reform can happen, because the “script” you describe requires an ignorant populace. Your way, there’s no chance, and you are resigning yourself to endorsing oppressive, murderous, ravenous, sociopathic candidate after oppressive, murderous, ravenous, sociopathic candidate. If you’re comfortable with that, go vote for that. Nobody is stopping you.
I will not have my vote counted among those. Give me a principled candidate with a platform founded on benevolence and compassion, and I will vote for that candidate, but don’t blame me for not wanting to vote for these people the major parties have been serving up. That is on them. Democrats and Republicans did this to themselves by allowing the situation to get so terrible. You can’t ask reasonable, rational, ethical people, who wouldn’t touch these two stultifyingly bad parties with a 10 light-year pole, to vote for one of these miasmal candidates. Quit telling us to vote for your pile of garbage because you think the other team’s pile of garbage smells worse.
We can try to limit it, root it out, speak out against it. But we can’t do that with people like Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the White House.
Or with any Democrat or Republican in the White House, all of whom are either part of the oligarchy or on the take from the oligarchy. You cannot limit the ability of the ruling elite to control you by voting for a deeply-entrenched hundred millionaire or a deeply-narcissistic billionaire.