The Nature Of Voting In A Republic

We have been trying to explain to the NeverTrumpers that all votes to elect representatives are transactional.  Joseph C. Sternberg, from the European WSJ, has an op-ed in the WSJ that political insurgencies in Europe and the US but also the nature of our votes in a republic.  For us, Joe’s critical paragraphs are:

Disappointment is the normal state for a voter in a democracy. But voters casting their lot with established political parties typically know which disappointments to expect.

The twist now is that insurgent voters can’t predict exactly how their unorthodox coalitions will let them down. Expect the big political story of the next few years to be what happens—for good or ill—when those voters find out. Emphasis added.

The bold part of the quote can be turned around because the non-insurgent voters can’t predict exactly how these coalitions will work for them.  Every voter should know that he is part of a coalition and that means disappointment.  Joe’s summary of the Trump coalition is as follows:

The [Donald’s] administration is stymied most often not by a loony liberal “resistance” but by the vicious jostling among the working-class, social-conservative, constitutional-conservative and anti-swamp elements of the unwieldy coalition of voters that propelled the president to victory.

We are not interested in counting “most often” or debating the exact nature of The Donald’s coalition but the critical point is that the different elements of every coalition have different priorities.  Thus, there are splits when the coalition tries to do things but the opposition remains steadfast.  To rework Mick and Keith for voting in a republic, you never get what you want but you might get something you need.

We are almost always disappointed with our votes in a republic and we get precious few positive surprises.  Everyone, but especially folks that are experienced with the political process must recognize the transactional nature of every vote in a republic.