“Do we have the votes?” is a big part of the political culture. After-all votes matter. Because without the votes, bills, including the budget, don’t get passed. And lots of people get impacted.
Democracy dictates the courses of persuasion & consensus building. But in the end, it is the number of votes, politicians focus on. As elected representatives, they need the votes for re-election, passing bills, or whatever their constituents elected them to do.
It is a political calculation that no politicians can afford to ignore.
Question then becomes where do principles stand? By principles I mean moral judgement, right versus wrong, etc. Do they take a backseat to the horsetrading of votes? If a conflict arises, how do politicians reconcile their differences?
Imaging these behind the closed-door conversations:
How about if you vote my bill, I will vote for yours?
How will my approval rating be affected if I vote in such way?
How much is it worth?
All part of the political calculations.
How much political calculations happen at work or at home? What evaluation criteria drive your decision?