Why Do People Vote Against their Own Beliefs?

Small government, free markets, no bailouts, no mandates, balanced budgets, cutting spending, all things Republican voters claim to believe in. But what do they vote for? Candidates that supported bailouts, mandates, big government, and with no plans to balance the budget. Many Democrats were protesting illegal wars and the Patriot Act not too long ago. Now, they are mostly silent on these issues. How can we explain this?

Ask anyone whether politicians lie to get elected, and I think pretty much everyone will agree that they do. Why then are people voting based on what a candidate says? One would think that, knowing that politicians would say anything to get elected, the voters would be making sure they take a close look at the candidate’s actions throughout the years.

The way I see it, there are four reasons why voters would vote for a candidate that stands for the opposite of what they claim to believe in.

  1. They don’t really believe in what they claim to believe in. They say they believe in something because they know they are supposed to believe in it if they are to belong to the group they say they belong to. For example, a Republican understands that as a Republican he must believe in free markets, when in reality he has no real beliefs on the subject.
  2. They are lazy and see what they want to see. Rather than research a candidate’s record, they just project onto the candidate whatever beliefs they have. For example, the fact that Romney looks presidential causes many to deceive themselves into thinking that he also shares their beliefs. Because wouldn’t it be great if the guy with great hair and great speaking skills was also the guy that would fight for what we care about? The same thing happened with Obama, a blank page that the voters filled with whatever was important to them, because they loved the perception he created.
  3. Some do know their candidate’s record, but they deceive themselves into thinking the candidate somehow has changed based on what he is currently saying. But what happened to the fact that politicians lie to get elected, being common knowledge? How is this possible?
  4. They have other beliefs that are more important. For example, it seems that Republicans care more about defeating Obama in the general election than they do about balancing the budget.

It is disturbing that only a small minority is able to keep their eye on the real target. Most would say they agree that what we need is someone that has shown himself to be consistent; someone that is not just saying the right things at the right time; someone that has the courage to stand up even against his own party to do what is right. But when it is time to cast their ballots, they vote for the opposite.

Evangelicals who dropped Herman Cain when they found out he was cheating on his wife, decided they would vote for Newt Gingrich who has cheated on two wives. Those who consider themselves part of the tea party, which claims to understand that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were partially responsible for the housing bubble, are voting for Gingrich who lobbied for Freddy Mac.

Democrat voters stick with Obama even after learning of American assassinations and after he signed a bill that would allow the military to detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial.

So what is going on? It seems to me that to most this is no different than a football game. Gingrich delivers those great lines and they would love to see him debate Obama. It’s just great entertainment. Romney to many seems like the most electable, and isn’t that what this is about? Winning? Who cares if the budget is balanced or not? If we win we will feel good, and we will get to see our guy on television being called “president.” That’ll fix our problems for sure.

Republicans believe in nothing, except being Republicans. It’s kind of like surviving just for the sake of surviving. Imagine having absolutely no goals in life, nothing to live for; getting up every day just to eat and keep yourself alive. What a pathetic life that would be.

Democrats are no different. If illegal wars are the new norm, then that’s what they will defend. It’s almost as if the voters don’t have any real beliefs, but instead put their beliefs in personalities. Obama just inspires, doesn’t he? Romney just looks good. That guy Gingrich is a tough S.O.B. He’d fix things right up. It’s all about perceptions, and feeling good.

We live in a fantasy world in which there are no wars going on, no people dying. After all, when we look outside our window everything is calm. We can’t even imagine reality being different than what we see. We can’t imagine what it would be like for an economy to collapse, for the country to change dramatically into something way different than what we are used to. But soon enough we’ll be forced to wake up, and when we do it just may be too late.

Similar Posts:

  • LK

    Yes, the whole thing has the air of a high school football game, us against them.

    When people really start to feel it – when the artificial straw holding up the economy is pulled and the camel’s back is irreparably broken – then people will cry out for change because their little fantasy bubbles will finally burst.

    Just a matter of timing for those pulling that last piece of straw. Thanks for your article – I agree with you 100%.

  • ___j___

    See my thoughts on the zeroth reason here — http://www.truthinexile.com/2011/09/19/the-myth-of-infrastructure-spending/#comment-30244

    @LK, while I agree that economic collapse would drive change, I disagree it would be of the good sort. History seems to tell us that economic collapse is fertile ground for Lenin and for Hitler (1917 and 1933 respectively). Note that in 1776, the local economies in the colonies did *not* collapse, even though the taxation and the repression leading up to the war caused serious problems. Similarly, when the Constitution was written, it was in relatively prosperous times, right?

    If we want to get people interested in voting for liberty, we need to do it *before* the economic collapse we are steadily heading for. Decisions made during (or immediately after) some serious turmoil will be driven by fear and envy — voters will put in a new Stalin. Averting that unhappy ending means we need to win sooner rather than later.