Voting Against One’s Own Best Interests

There has been a disturbing trend in America….that is voters actually voting against themselves….how very American of them.

Take my state…in 2010 we had a Dem rep in DC…he was pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military, pro seniors…..he voted the way that the conservative majority in my area wanted him to vote…but for all his good deeds for the people of Mississippi he was voted out in favor of a Tea Party douche, Palazzo…..Taylor’s only crime was he was a Dem, a Blue Dog Dem… essence the people voted against their own best interests because of rhetoric….the perfect example of what our politics has become….petty and pathetic.

After Taylor’s loss I tried to interview locals to see why he would lose the election to a no nothing loser…..there were lots of reason but most of them made little sense but the one thing that most agreed on was the GOP tied him to Pelosi…..the man was more conservative than some Repubs…so their reasons made little sense to me….

I have tried to understand how people could do this sort of thing to themselves and a good reason escapes me at every turn.

But now the Atlantic has published an attempt to explain the phenom…..

Governing is often a cause-and-effect business. Give workers a tax break on retirement accounts? More people save for life after the working world. Offer a rebate for old cars? Drivers scrap their gas-guzzling Explorers in favor of sensible Corollas, and average fuel efficiency goes up.

It’s easy to sell something to voters when the costs and benefits are immediately obvious. But that’s not how most policies work. Many look downright terrible in the beginning—what, pay more taxes?—and deliver a payout only if people collectively change their future behavior. Take a carbon tax: Industry would pay more to produce energy, making stuff more expensive, but the price pressure might prompt an eventual shift to alternative fuels, which could deliver an overall benefit to society.

Source: Why People Enthusiastically Vote for Counterproductive Policies – The Atlantic

This phenom does not appear to be going anywhere….the American people will continue to vote against their own best interests….


13 thoughts on “Voting Against One’s Own Best Interests

  1. Most people are shortsighted and can’t see the bigger picture. We’ve been conditioned to be short-term thinkers. For example, we spend our money now instead of saving for a future that most believe is years or decades away. It’s the same type of thinking when people complain about tax increases, but because they won’t be able to buy more things having less money. Taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society and as such, to do better requires more money to be collected. I would gladly pay more taxes now if it meant my daughter and my daughter’s children can breath clean air and drink clean water. We all too quickly fall into the rabbit hole of political rhetoric that could easily be eliminated if we weren’t so damn lazy in seeking the facts for ourselves.

    1. So true….the disdain for education does have its consequences….I am an old fart and suffer from CRS…did I mention to you about Henry George? chuq

  2. I think the question is not wondering why voters typically vote against their best interest but it’s more about interpreting what their best interests are.. hence the differences in political philosophy. I would not necessarily choose to vote according to what YOU say my best interests should be any more than I might suggest you vote for what I think your best interests should be.

    1. I would never tell someone how to vote just to decide what is important to them and go from there….I use my rep as an example….that is against their best interests…chuq

  3. Scott Adams wrote “The Dilbert Future” in the late 90s, and it’s frightening how many of his predictions have come true. I used to write quotes on the board from the book in college to make people laugh and think. But it’s crazy how some are so willing to demonize an opposing party or are quick to find a fault with a candidate that sounds good, but is from “the other” party. It’s the biggest beef I have with some people that I don’t say aloud because of screaming matches.

    But what Adams wrote is one of my fave parts, where he talks about straight party voting and party loyalty’s hold on the American people (paraphrasing, because I doubt I’ll get every word right and don’t have the book right in front of me):
    If a head of lettuce were to run for president, it would automatically get 25% of the popular vote. This 25% would rationalize their decision by saying things like: “Well, at least that lettuce has principles!,” “It can’t be any worse than the other guy.” and “I just think it’s time for a change.”

    I haven’t foolishly voted straight-party ticket ever again.

      1. yeah, it’s full title is “The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century” by Scott Adams. Shouldn’t be too hard to get–just funny how right some of his predictions are years later.

  4. Voting isn’t an intelligent response, it’s a knee-jerk response to TV advertising… and it all began with instant coffee that was supposed to become instant everything. Politics in America is a commercial enterprise and the loudest, slickest advertiser usually gets the highest sales.

    1. I could not agree more with your assertion…but for me it is policies and principles….I refuse to let TV decide who I will vote for on any given day.

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