Democracy and Politics FAQ

Why can't I vote for someone I really agree with?

  • Democracy is about choosing a government for a large group of people (e.g. town, city, county, state, nation, international organization).  You share your government with your neighbors.  Sharing implies compromise.  When you vote, you move the compromise closer to what you would like, but it is still a compromise.
  • Maybe you only vote in the general election.  Most of the compromises are hammered out before that election, in primaries or in community meetings.  Getting involved earlier in the process means you have more influence.
  • You could always run for an office yourself!  But remember, even then, your obligation is to represent your constituents, so you will still be making compromises.
  • Compromise isn't bad, any more than sharing is bad.
  • Why should I vote for someone who won't get elected?

  • The process of compromise happens during governing as well as during voting.  If an "unelectable" candidate does a very good job of representing your interests, then your opinion may be more clearly understood by whoever is governing if you vote for that candidate.  Of course, this requires that the election winners look at the full election results and understand their opponent's platforms as you do.
  • Why shouldn't I vote for someone who won't get elected?

  • See the answer to "Why can't I vote for someone I really agree with?"  Since you are participating in a democracy, you are agreeing to sharing and to compromise.  You are committing to choosing a government that reflects your neighbor's opinions as well as your own. 
  • It may be more important to choose who will really govern than to more clearly express your opinion in the voter booth.  You have to make this decision.
  • This is not a flaw in democracy.  Democracy is supposed to involve sharing and using your intelligence.
  • Voting is not the only way to influence governments or to express opinions.  Voting is the only way to choose who will be governing.

  • page author: Joanna Bryson