The role of the politician in the liberal democratic state
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Politicians are elected to represent the people. But what if barely half of the people voted? And how can she (the politician) represent an electorate that has a range of very different, if not contradictory, opinions on the matter? The fact is politicians are permanently confronted with all sorts of dilemmas that make their job of representing the public a near impossibility. These dilemmas include that (1) of conscience—their own, if the loudest portion of those represented want something the politician is convinced is morally wrong; (2) of loyalty—when her party wants something she thinks will make her re-election impossible; (3) of patriotism—when what is proposed is, in her view, wrong for the country; (4) of short versus long term—when a quick fix is proposed instead of a well-thought-out solution; (5) of ends versus means—when the way to get to a solution is fraught with all sorts of difficulties.