The "electability" argument was always used to push a McCain or Giuliani type who was far from what the base wanted, but was rammed down our throats on the false premise that we needed to move center to gain enough votes to win the general election. But recent history has proved that to be flat wrong. Bush won on a pretty conservative platform, to the point where he was hammered in the press for being some kind of zealot extremist. Too bad he didn't live up to that!
Rather, he proved so liberal in many ways he has done great damage to the Republican party, though big spending incumbents in Congress helped a lot too.
But there is a great deal of truth to Bill S's Ross Perot illustration. As bad as McCain is, he is not much worse than what we have been dealing with for the past 8 years. Amnesty? No worse than Bush. Guns? Not provably worse, but that is still open. Taxes? Well, depends on if you believe him now or think he'll act as he has in the past. More social spending? Well, we've been getting that from Bush, so no worse there. The one key think about McCain is the type of Justices he will appoint. If Hillary or Obama get in, we will probably get two more Ginsberg types and that could turn the Supreme Court's authority to devastating proportions for the rest of our lives. At least we have a chance of another couple of Alito's or Roberts's under McCain. That is something we all have to consider, when thinking about not voting at all or going 3rd party. I don't even think of it now as a "lesser of two evils" thing as much as an anything-but-a-liberal-demoncrat kind of vote. I think the damage McCain can do, long term, is far less than the alternatives. I don't like the choices any more than the rest of you, but with what we have left, how can we best be served? Does voting for no one REALLY move us forward? Or does it just help our worst enemies?
I made the Perot mistake in 92. I won't do that again. He was as deceptive in the end as the party regulars. He sabotaged his own campaign by dropping out and returning later. I understood, too late, that this was a calculated move. He was afraid he might actually win, I believe.