Kushay's Matter Bank Politics

[AK] Campaign Strategy in Elections – Voter Idealism

This note will discuss how sometimes voters votes against candidate that offers policies that benefits them.

Oftentimes, low-income voters votes for a right-wing party, which might seem counter-intuitive given the fact that it is the left-wing party that has always promoted policies like “free basic needs” and it is the right-wing party that often cuts their welfare programs, and gives more money to rich corporations instead. A case study is when Ronald Reagan managed to get the votes of many farmers and hard laborers in 1981 US Presidential election. How does this happen?

One theory that is some left-wingers proposes is that the people are scammed into voting against their own interest by right-wingers, by either scapegoating a certain group of people and then promising to get rid of such group (Ex: Donald Trump’s rhetoric that Mexicans are stealing American jobs and promising to get rid of them) or by saying that the most important thing is to conserve our national values (Ex: Another rhetoric saying that the presence of LGBTs in US harms American values).

Although in some cases this theory is true, in some other cases it isn’t. Sometimes, people don’t perceive national politics as only limited to questions like “what’s the best policy for me”, but oftentimes it also goes to questions like “what values should my country uphold”. This is something that right-wingers realizes better than left-wingers. Which is why their campaign strategy are often not limited to promoting their policies, but also to say that “the ideals that our nation should uphold is ‘this’, and my party caters to it much better.”

This means that in some cases, voters prioritizes their ideals in comparison to mere material benefits, something that they perceive as obtainable from sources other than the state, for example you can obtain a guarantee to be fed daily from your families.

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