Although the 2020 election is over a year away, Democrats already face a crowded presidential primary field with no clear front runner. Right now, it’s all about first impressions, and Democratic presidential candidates could learn a few things from contestants on The Bachelor.
I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out; I too was a Bachelor skeptic once, but I have since learned the error of my ways.
On the first night of The Bachelor, each woman has limited time to make an impression on the titular bachelor. If they fail to catch his eye, they get sent home immediately. Some people resort to gimmicks and tricks to make a good first impression, but those people rarely last. The people who are able to stay at the forefront of the bachelor’s mind are those that make genuine connections with him.
Like the contestants on The Bachelor, presidential candidates need to find a way to capture and maintain the public’s attention. By being themselves and using their time to elevate their message, candidates can avoid wasting precious time focusing solely on their opponents. On The Bachelor, the women who spend their time with the bachelor talking about other women in the house are quickly sent home. The same will likely hold true in the primary.
On The Bachelor and in the primaries, it all boils down to how the candidates use their time. Those who spend most of their time talking about other candidates indicate that they lack substance and are not convinced that they alone are good enough to earn your vote. Candidates who use their time talking about the issues come off as far more genuine.
At the end of the day, all candidates are politicians who want to win, just like the contestants on The Bachelor want to win the bachelor’s heart. Similar to their reality TV counterparts, candidates have to move the hearts and minds of others to achieve their goals.
Primaries are about inspiring core supporters. For Democrats, that should entail inspiring people with messages of hope and of a brighter future, not fear-mongering and bashing the other candidates. Vote for a candidate who inspires you, who makes you feel hopeful. But you should also know that your candidate might not win, and you need to keep an open mind about the others in the field.
Not every candidate has what it takes to capture the hearts of Americans. A little humility and a lot of self-awareness goes a long way. There’s no harm in putting up an initial fight, but as the primaries continue, there are downsides to drawing it out. A longer primary can make it more difficult to heal rifts that form within the party as a result of the contest.
Knowing when your candidate is losing can be difficult, but it’s important to trust your gut. Vote for a future you believe in, but keep in mind that someone else’s vision might be more compelling. Not every candidate, or every woman, can be “the one,” but they all deserve a chance.
Jessie Gorovitz ’20 is a political science major from Berkeley, Calif. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.