How do you measure a good political candidate? Would you use words like honesty, integrity, valor, consistency, or commonality? If you a news media outlet you would most likely use the word ‘electability”. Sounds good right, we should all want a candidate that has the ability to be elected, or should we? Let’s think what this word means. Electability in its essence means which candidate is most likely to be liked by other people or voting to win. Even worse we often leave this immeasurable quality to be determined to us by other people, in most cases the media to shape our thoughts on the candidate we should elect. Therefore candidate that may represent you or me is not good, unless they are liked by a large amount of people. I want you to think about how dangerous of an idea that can be. That single idea defeats the entire idea of democracy. In often cases leaves us in a situation trying to determine who to pick, in the lesser of two evils mindset.
Let’s take this idea and move it out of politics to see if it makes sense in other applications. How about ice cream flavors, if I had to pick an ice cream flavor that had the most likability I’d find it hard pressed for anyone to pick anything but chocolate, my favorite ice cream although is butter pecan. What about sports teams, I am a die hard Cleveland Browns fan (unfortunately). If I were to pick a team based on performability, or favorability I suppose I would have to become a Steelers or Patriots fan. The music that would most likely not offend anyone would be pop/top40 music, but I can’t stand most pop music, I love Country. If I were to pick a car on drivability I’d probably be in a foreign made BMW and not my Ford Escape. My point is that this idea of Electability is seen in politics, one of the most important decisions that affect our lives every day. In contrast it is an idea that we would rarely use in our everyday lives. Why do we allow the media to judge political candidates this way? If this is how we allow our politicians to be chosen we will all end up with a bunch of politicians who like chocolate, pop music, are patriot’s fans, and drive BMW’s making our laws and policies for us. (To further the analogy the other party could be vanilla, top 40, Steelers fans, driving Hondas) I know we all like voting for winners. When asked “who did you vote for A or B?” no one likes to say I voted for C. But if everyone who actually liked C voted that way, C may not be that “unelectable” as the media says. If we ever want to see politicians change we have to stop voting to win and start voting for change.