What can you do about the next time?
If you do not or cannot vote then why bother to think about it.
If you feel that the next elections will offer some opportunity for your vote to count then it becomes a serious matter. Can the system by which politicians are elected be changed?
The politicians that are in office got there via the system and know it well if they have been there through several elections. At least they know how to play the system to their benefit. Will such persons want to change the system unless it is for their better benefit? It is difficult to think that they will.
The political parties thrive on the system and know no other. It is difficult to think that they will tolerate another.
Those that support these politicians usually do so because of the benefit they glean from their support. Will they want to really change the system for one that may not further their interests? It is difficult to think that they want to do so or will try to do so.
Those who seek favors and obtain them, no matter how, will continue in their same search and will certainly not want to see the system changed unless they can be sure that the same politicians or the same kind of politicians are there to negociate their favors.
So, that leaves only the electorate to offer any hope of change; and that provided that the elections are fairly honest so that a clear large majority can actually change the politicians and possibly the system.
The only way to effect this change is to vote against those seeking reelection, i.e., the incumbants. Once the people in office change and know that their time is limited unless they pay close attention to the desires of those who elected them there may be some possibility for changing the system for a better one. Maybe not but at least there is the chance for a change.
If you want to work within a political party because it seems to favor a philosophy that you feel is a good one for you then you must get involved in the primaries and local party goings on so you can get rid of those who have held office and put new faces in their place. If the parties do not interest you then you can just always vote for whoever is against the incumbant. Either way you want to act politically the end result will be the same if you work against the incumbants.
Why will this work?
Of the 3 levels, Federal, State and Local, the Federal is the easiest to understand and also to prepare for. The President and VP is elected every 4 years, the senators every 6 years but staggered on a one third every two years, and the representatives every two years. All of these will always get a bunch of votes because of their party but if enough voters begin to go against incumbants then they will get more and more new faces every two years and eventually these newcomers will change the system so that they can have a chance for reelection. That means paying more attention to what their constituants want. The State and Local elections are much more complicated due to varying terms of one, two, three, four and even five years. Also, they are not publicized as much as the Federal elections. The parties also work vigoriously in these elections as they serve as a preparation, the system being the same, for election of the Federal offices. However, those elected to the State and Local offices will respond, and probably even more quickly, to the voters who throw out incumbants nearly every election.
Eventually all the politicians will come to the voters and ask, "What do I have to do to get reelected?". If they are told to change the system so that it is absolutely fair and nearly impossible to rig or steal an election then they will take that action. But not unless they are made to fear for their own reelection.
There is a basic truth in the phrase: Throw the bums out.
Last but not least, for those who feel that the system will not change and that the thieves who stole the election will just do the same again and again, there is really no choice but to work against the system to break it. This is a dangerous course because the replacement may be even worse and those who broke it will probably have no control over the new system.