Political moderates pride themselves on their open-mindedness. They “vote for the person, not the party” and brag about their willingness to look at each candidate with an open mind, voting only for the one that they believe will perform best in their respective political office.
Admirable as it may seem, the truth about the US political system is that “the person” barely matters – and voting for the person may actually do more harm than good when it comes to getting the results that you want.
Scenario: Ordering Lunch for the Office
You work at an office with 102 people. Two of those people are out sick. One of the sick is the CEO of the company: An educated, funny, interesting and kind woman that gives you excellent yearly bonuses and truly values her employees. The other is the mail clerk. He is an angry, uneducated curmudgeon that swears like a sailor, makes rude comments and smells like cheese.
The CEO sends an email that says she is willing to pay for lunch for the entire company while she is out sick. She asks the company to put it to a vote: Tossed Salad or Pepperoni Pizza. 50 employees vote for salad. 50 vote for pizza. Because it’s a tie, the office puts you in charge of calling one of the two sick employees and getting their vote.
You are a vegetarian. If the office orders pepperoni pizza, you are not going to be able to eat it. You love the CEO, but you know for a fact that she is an avid meat eater. On the other hand, you dislike the mail clerk, but he is openly vegan and you know he would vote for the salad. Who do you call?
You call the mail clerk. You want the salad, not the pizza. The fact that the mail clerk is unlikeable has nothing to do with the way they vote, and you need someone that will vote for the salad.
The Government is a Series of Votes, Not a Series of Individuals
With a few exceptions, the personality and character of the politician simply do not matter. As hard as it may be to accept, whether or not you like the person has no bearing on whether or not they will be successful in getting the laws you want passed in office.
Voting blindly for the party is not voting blindly at all. You know that a socially liberal Democrat is going to vote for the issues that a socially liberal Democrat approves. You know that a socially conservative Republican is going to vote for issues that a socially conservative Republican approves. You know what they will vote for and you know that their vote is really all that matters when it comes to getting laws passed.
Moderates may be in a difficult position. They may be socially conservative on some issues and socially liberal on others. They may waver on taxes or be uncertain of where they stand on government interference. All of these may it more difficult for a moderate to vote for any one political party.
But when it comes to whether any Democrat or Republican is voting blindly for the party – they aren’t. They are voting for a vote, and the party the individual associates with indicates exactly how they are going to vote. The politician may be nice or mean, smart or stupid, educated or oblivious – yet none of these matter when it comes to how they are going to vote, and so voting for who they are as people is irrelevant.