I was offended. The only throwaway votes are the ones that aren't cast. In that election, the Republican candidate was as likely to win as my left shoe.
I think it's a real shame that people evaluate candidates based solely on party affiliation, not on their records. People vote on a candidate that shares their values and is likely to win. It seems too often the second part outweighs the first part.
I wonder if instant-runoff voting would help with this problem. It would be interesting to see the results of an exit poll that used IRV compared to the actual election results. I wouldn't expect the results to be that much different, though, because I think voters are much less likely to have even considered a third party candidate who does not have a realistic chance of winning. Third party candidates also don't have the financial support to get the same exposure as the two big parties.