Each election cycle brings new candidates who make promises to bring change to our governing process. However, when these candidates get in office, things rarely change. I will describe three types of candidates that may help explain why change does not always come.
When Candidate A promises change, he doesn’t really mean it. He has been sought out and recruited by those currently in power. He is simply a replacement for one of the elected officials we already have. When you check the campaign finance reports, you see he has the same supporters as the incumbent. He also hires the same political consultant to tell him what to say to maximize his chances of winning.
When Candidate B promises change, he really means it, but once elected, he quickly discovers how hard it is to lead change. Candidate B can try to “get along” with other elected officials and use negotiation as a way to bring about change. This less confrontational approach can be effective, but it takes a long time. This approach may lead supporters to feel that Candidate B has turned on them. Candidate B may not be around after the next election if his “get along” approach appears to be ineffective.
Candidate B also can choose the “rogue” approach, meaning he is less obedient and more confrontational. When he begins to question the way things are done or votes in opposition to the majority, he comes under fire from those who like the way things are. As a result Candidate B begins to doubt himself and folds under the pressure to conform.
Candidate B’s lack of resolve is not always his fault. Many times those who supported him during the campaign do not actively support him during his time in office. There are other cases where the candidate separates himself from his supporters after the election. Once elected, he no longer sees a need to stay in touch with his supporters. In either case, the lack of continued support for Candidate B affects his ability to bring change.
When Candidate C promises change, he means it, and he is effective in slowing things down enough to the point where change is possible. It’s been said that significant change cannot be made in an organization without making someone really mad. Candidate C makes people mad. However, when the attacks come, he is able to maintain his resolve. The more effective Candidate C becomes, the worse the attacks become. You could say Candidate C should be flattered by the attacks because it is a measure of his effectiveness. However, it is hard to convince Candidate C that there is anything positive about the threats of lawsuits or attacks relating to his family, religion or character. There are very few people who can play the role of Candidate C.
Voters who want change are fortunate any time they are given the chance to vote for Candidates B and C. I appreciate all the time and effort these candidates put into their attempts to make things better.