Why Do Politicians All Sound the Same?
Have you ever wondered why politicians seem to all say the same thing, especially during presidential elections? According to Professor Diana Thomas, this is due to the median voter theorem. To guarantee victory, a candidate has to earn just over 50 percent of the vote. Even if a candidate starts out on an extreme end of the political spectrum, he ultimately will aim for the middle to convince the “median voter” to vote for him.
For example, a Democrat running for office may start out expressing ideas that fit well on the far Left side of the political spectrum. To earn the votes of more mainstream Democrats, he will then begin to stand for more mainstream policies. To then earn the votes of the most conservative Democrats or Independents, he will move his platform even more toward the center, in an attempt to win over just more than 50 percent of voters. A Republican candidate goes through the same process in reverse, until both have essentially met in the middle.
In a two-party, majority rule system, moving toward the center is not likely to alienate the voters on the ends because they feel there is not another viable candidate to vote for instead. This means, there really isn’t any penalty for a candidate chooses to move toward the middle. And it explains why all politicians end up sounding the same.