Why Voting for the Most Confident Candidate Is a Problem

The confidence we crave in our leaders compromises their ability to help us avoid risk.

It may never be fully understood why we’re so drawn to confident people. But it’s clear we are. In relationships, there’s hardly a bigger turn-off than insecurity. In politics, large groups of voters will always go for the candidate with the bigger ego, not that anyone running for office is likely to be a shrinking violet. And not to name names.


And this is a problem. Combined with a less-than sparkling intellect, confidence is downright dangerous, resulting in a person who never doubts his/her own bad decision-making. People die when the presidency is in the hands of this kind of person. Again, not naming names.

Our attraction to the confident also stands in direct opposition to another thing we crave, as Daniel Kahneman points out.

One would hope that our battling cognitive biases toward confidence and risk-aversion keep us mostly in-balance, and often this is just the kind of paradox we expect our leaders to manifest. Dancing this internal dance probably lies at the very heart of what it takes to be a politician.

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