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Why do we always vote for the same candidate even if he proves to be an idiot?

Why do we always vote for the same candidate even if he proves to be an idiot?

October 1, 2022

I want to ask you a question: how can you tell if a certain person is affectionate, or selfish, or violent, or any other qualifier that comes to mind?

For purely operational reasons, I can not hear your answer, but I can imagine it: Surely you would tell me that to know if the person in question possesses those qualities first he should be able to observe how he behaves. And this does not surprise me. We judge others, and eventually we apply qualifiers, observing how they conduct themselves in their daily lives.

What does turn out to be a rather curious fact is that many times we use the same methodology to judge us same. We know if we are loving making a mental review of the gestures of affection that we usually have with our partner, or our children, for example.


Usually the dynamic follows that order, although we do not become aware of it: First we look at how we behave and then we apply a label, or we join a certain category, whether it is brave, funny, optimistic or sensitive. This is the first question that I wish to leave established in order to answer the question that shapes the title of this article.

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Consistency as a value

And speaking of human qualities, the second question to bear in mind is the need for congruence that we experience the majority of human beings.


The coherence, defined as a certain harmony between what a person says and does, is a virtue highly valued in all cultures. Otherwise, Incoherence, results in erratic behavior , inconsistent or unpredictable. And the truth is that nobody likes people who fail to adjust to a course of action.

It is normal that those people who change their mind constantly, or are easily influenced, are tilde of weak, weak will, or simply plain foolish. A) Yes, coherence is a personality feature much appreciated. When we form an image about ourselves, we strive to be consistent with that image.

At all times, our own behavior tells us a lot about us, even at election time. When we vote for the candidate So-and-So, at the same time we build a whole scaffolding that starts to work as a support and facilitator who will help us to return to vote in the following elections . In that sense, if we already decided on Fulano the first time, it is coherent for us to continue in the same line of action and vote again for Fulano the second time.


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Electoral biases and persistence

The phenomenon becomes even more powerful if, when we elect our candidate the first time, we proclaim it out loud and let it be known to the whole world. When we openly communicate our support to Fulano in a kind of amateur partisan militancy, the need to be coherent before the attentive gaze of others is imposed on us with even greater force.

Reached this point, when it comes to re-voting, not only suffer internal pressure to be consistent with our previous decision, we also suffer external pressure from those who know us.

But the issue does not end there, but has some even more surprising edges: It has been experimentally demonstrated that when a person has formed an opinion on any subject, show concrete evidence that shows that the truth is in the opposite street , it does not serve to persuade him the vast majority of the time ; even worse, any solid evidence that this or that person could be wrong, contrary to common sense, helps that person cling even more to his or her belief.

This curious psychological phenomenon is known as "persistence" and as theorized, once someone has invested time and effort to convince themselves of something, they stick with vehemence to that idea before any hint of doubt or external threat. Know that disarming a belief entrenched in the mind is extremely painful to the brain.

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Why we always vote for the same candidate

It does not matter too much about the brutal hurricane in economic or educational matters that the inoperative politician of the day may be doing; to those who voted for them, they have no choice but to continue defending it at all costs , putting patches here and there, and building all kinds of rationalizations and fallacious justifications that help sustain the precarious cognitive scaffolding that is now wobbling.

Accept that this time, instead of voting for So and so it would be better to vote for Mengano, it is also accept that they were wrong from the beginning, and to do so, implicitly they will also be accepting their own stupidity, and throwing away all the personal resources put into game until that moment.

Most likely for that reason, in spite of everything, the politicians who only concentrate on their own benefit , totally distanced from the needs of most people, they continue to make good choices once they have come to power.

The need for internal coherence of those who originally voted for them can be very powerful. And the psychic cost of recanting, too high.


'If you Google the word idiot, a picture of Donald Trump comes up' - BBC News (October 2022).


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