Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Electorate Creates the Candidate

Proverbially, politics is a mess. Always has been. And CNN now finds it advisable to run a series called "Broken Government" when "Rigged Ballot Boxes" might be more appropriate.

But this entry isn't about stolen elections. Its about how the electorate--assuming for now that we actually live in a functioning democracy--creates the mess, then complains about it.

Many citizens, and certainly those who never vote, would hardly know the difference between participatory democracy and the rule of a benign sovereign. They have signed away their right to complain. Its the ones who do vote that cause the problem.

Let me explain.

How many times do you hear voters complaining that candidates have "listened to the polls too much". Or that they are "just trying to win votes". Or "just trying to keep their job".

I can think of no dumber complaints.

In a democracy, doesn't the politician serve at the will of the people? Isn't he/she supposed to dance to the tune played out at the voting machine? Are voters genuinely surprised that candidates are anxious to curry their favor? Can they imagine it any other way?

How about this: the candidate doesn't listen to polls--doesn't care what the voters think. Is a strong man with strong convictions. None of this flip-flop for him based on poll numbers. No craven pursuit of silly voters.

Maybe that sounds admirable to the electorate--when they whine the way they do, it implies it might. To me, it sounds like Mussolini.

Wake up, voters. Politicians are supposed to be your puppets. Make them dance.


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