A Rational Theory of Politics

reporterBy Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept 30, 2015


ELECTIONS always affirm our belief in choice. This is one time when we take our country’s fate in our hands and decide. Everyone casts one’s vote by keeping different factors in mind, by carefully considering all aspects and deliberating on the issues involved. The party, the candidate, the political climate, all weigh on the mind of a voter. 
We would like to believe that the choice is mostly rational,except when a candidate fights only on personal charisma. A popular actor, for instance but the belief that people take rational decisions while choosing candidates is too simplistic. Electoral decisions are as logical as any we take in the course of our lives so the outcome of elections too may not be as logical as we like to believe. 
It may sound unusual, but elections are rarely decided by supporters of a particular party and candidate. After all, don’t we see how people work hard on canvassing, how there are efforts to get as many volunteers as possible, how parties and politicians gain confidence from their supporting hordes?  Still, candidates don’t win on the basis of their supporters. Then who decides who wins and who loses?

Those who decide the outcome of elections — and the fate of the country — is a very powerful minority, away from the shrieking hordes  of supporters and fans and even the so-called silent majority. These people are a very small number of the total voters. Sometimes, even as few as just five per cent. How can so few people decide the elections ? They are the undecided lot, those who are left after parties have won over most of the voters. This small minority refuses to be won over by one party, issue or candidate.  It is like the haggler, who take a lot of time to settle for a deal. So after all the hard work a party does to win supporters, it comes to face at the end that terrible undecided voter who has not been swayed so far by any of the tactics or allurements. This voter decides in the last days who it will vote, and whoever it votes, wins. Those who spent days, months or years supporting a cause, a party or a candidate fail to matter on the day of judgment. I won’t go so far as to say that it happens all the time, but it happens fairly often to derive a lesson from it.
The most important lesson we learn from this phenomenon is that if you cast your lot permanently with a party or a candidate, you might stop mattering. And from here we can go to the more valuable part of it all: the values of reason in public affairs as against raw passion. You matter only when you use every ounce of doubt and reason God has given you. The moment you invest belief and devotion in a party or a candidate,  you no longer factor in the public discourse. A healthy and abiding distrust gets you more weight in the marketplace of politics.