Competition: Realize the Consequences!

The key assumption of a democratic system is the opportunity for everyone in the society to have a say. Brunell and Clarke’s article:”Who Wants Electoral Competition and Who Wants to Win?” employs the results of a 2006 national survey to discuss the role of competition in democratic elections and politics in positive and negative aspects. In response to Brunell and Clarke’s paper, I argue that competition has demonstrated to have its benefits and consequences to electoral competitions, however, at the end of the day, people as electorates should focus more on the consequences of elections as the results involve a nation’s future possibilities. 

Although both negatives and positives exist, Brunell and Clarke in successive steps build their argument of competition being a necessary component to elections and contrasts Bateson and Hutcheon who provide more of one-sided arguments.

It is more than evident to us by now that competitive conditions produce emotional and physical responses emotional in us. Patterns of competitiveness’ cause and effect employed as forms of arguments can be observed in many articles we have read in class. As Garcia mentioned in her article, distinct levels of competition can result depending on numerous factors including uncertainty, number of competitors, similarity between the competitors, etc. This, I found similar in Brunell and Clarke’s article where the idea that competition can form a more responsive government by giving incentives to candidates. Brunell and Clarke presents this argument well as they relate the claim to human nature; as uncertainty increases for a competitor, the more likely the competitor is to ensure the public for their promises. Despite being politically unaware, these are situations regular students like me can experience. For instance, when I attempt to convince someone to do a favour for me while I ensure they will receive benefits as well. In order not to disappoint the others involved, I would do my best to make sure everything works according to my suggested plan. By considering Garcia and Brunell and Clarke’s articles, With the numerous researches out there relating to the topic of competition, I am now even more convinced by the potential power of ‘competition’ to generate predicted responses in human beings in manipulated situations. 

Personally I was surprised by the results of the national survey. Although most of us tend to find “watching a competition” very exciting, in terms of politics, it was out of my expectation to discover that most valued competition over their beliefs winning. To add on to my previous post: “Competition: Can We Help It?” and to @rosalynnine and @hzesu ‘s arguments, when competitive situations come to be, people take for granted what is fundamentally important and overlook the outcomes of their actions. Brunell and Clarke argue this point and the outcomes of Berg’s Red-Blue Exercise warn us as well. As a very practical person, I believe the point to electoral competitions is not the competition itself but the future that it ensures. The most notable example currently, the Philippines, reminds us that the outcomes of  bringing the wrong people to government can be tragic.

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