Guest post: Voting isn’t like picking a restaurant for your small group of friends

Originally a comment by Screechy Monkey on Hey, how about interviewing the people at Ma’s Pie Shop?

I just wish for someone who I feel good about voting for

Honestly, that’s not a realistic wish, unless your bar for “feel good about” is fairly low. (And maybe it is for you, in which case the rest of this post will seem like I’m jumping on you. I’m really just using your post to take aim at a commonly-expressed sentiment that I think is a problem in general, even if it isn’t a problem in your specific case.)

Even if all of politics came down to a simplified one-dimensional ideological spectrum, you would have to be one of the relatively few lucky ones who happens to occupy a point on that spectrum that is at or close to a viable candidate.

Add in another dimension, such as personal qualities of the candidate, and it gets even harder. Allow for one or more other political dimensions (e.g. social and fiscal), and… your odds of finding a viable candidate close to you in political space are pretty slim.

Voting isn’t like picking a restaurant for your small group of friends, where it really ought to be the case that you can find a place that all of you feel good about; it’s like trying to select a single dish that your entire town will eat. There just isn’t likely to be any way to satisfy all those disparate diets and allergies, let alone mere preferences. The best you can hope for is something that will keep you nourished; tasty and exciting is not a realistic expectation.

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