What makes a leader in politics? A leader is someone who represents a set of ideas that endears him or her to the electorate to the extent that the latter elects him or her into office. Unlike corporate leaders who work towards the achievement of their firm’s goals, political leaders are driven by the desires of the electorate. However, this does not mean that politicians have no principles with regard to political issues. In contrast, successful politicians are known to take firm stands on issues affecting their electorate, which plays a key role in making them stand out from competitors. However, it is worth noting that there are instances where public opinion goes against politicians’ principles, forcing some to yield to pressure with others holding their positions. The latter often risk losing their seats through impeachment, lose subsequent elections, or even resign to preserve their beliefs. The circumstances notwithstanding, political leaders should not change their principles despite opposing public opinion as doing so would put their person into question, effectively betraying the trust the public bestowed upon them, and make politics lose meaning.
People normally elect politicians into office because they believe the latter’s principles and goals resonate with theirs, making it untenable for politicians to abandon their principles as that would amount to betraying the will of the greater public. While one would argue that leaders serve their subjects and should, therefore, anticipate changes in public opinions, good leaders out to be principled enough to reject what they do not believe in. Furthermore, electorates are always aware of their leaders’ opinions on key issues before sending them into office, making it highly unlikely that the very people that voted for them make a sudden change that requires them to abandon their principles.
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