I had a rather sad epiphany last night. I don't think I've ever voted FOR a candidate. The closest I can come to an exception is Obama in 2008. But even then that was more a vote against McCain/Palin than a vote for Obama. McCain had been my absolute last choice in the whole GOP field for the duration of the primaries. Even before he chose Palin as his running mate I felt I'd be quite a hypocrite voting for the one guy I didn't even want to get the GOP nomination. Choosing Palin didn't change my mind so much as convince me I was making the right choice by jumping party lines. That being said I was still largely ideologically at odds with Obama on fiscal issues and marginally at odds on some social issues.
The last candidate the GOP had that actually inspired that enthusiasm was Reagan and both of his terms were up long before I was of legal voting age, so I missed that boat completely. Since 1996, the first presidential election I was legally able to vote in, the candidate I supported in the GOP primaries did not get the nomination (I supported Steve Forbes in '96 and '00 over Dole and Bush respectively). Heck in 2004 I voted Libertarian because ideologically I had disagreements with both Bush and Kerry. I wasn't voting so much FOR the Libertarian candidate as I was casting a vote for "None of the Above."
In the current election, the only candidate at all I see the public having any POSITIVE enthusiasm for is Bernie Sanders. Even though Hillary leads in the polls by a large margin and is the presumptive nominee, I don't see the enthusiasm for her from her supporters that was there when she went up against Obama in 2008. And the enthusiasm for Trump... It's based on negativity-- not on hope but on fear, paranoia and hate.
The only GOP candidates I can bring myself to support are John Kasich, Rand Paul, or Chris Christie. All are fiscal conservatives and in varying degrees-- social moderates (at least compared to the rest of the GOP field) and honestly I'm hoping the GOP voters will come to their senses when the primaries begin and move to the middle a bit more.
I realize it's a somewhat unrealistic hope. Even if they come to their senses about Trump... I fear they'll throw their lot in with someone like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, or Marco Rubio and not with the more moderate Kasich, Christie, or Paul. And Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina... Well I don't think they have a snowball's chance. Jeb is saddled with having a brother and a father who already took up residence at the White House and an American public who is now quite wary of the Bush name and Fiorina has the weight of her failures at HP hanging around her neck... The perception (rightly or wrongly) that if she ran HP into the ground why would we trust her to run our country? The only viable female leader the GOP has that would have the potential of getting elected is smart enough to know she wants nothing to do with the job and refused to run, Condi Rice.
In a word I guess that means I'm more than a little "disenfranchised."