"What will you do if you don't win?" "I will!"

This is something i’ve been noticing for a while now, but i’ve been reminded of it since we’re voting for a mayor over here in a bit.

Whenever a politician running for some office is interviewed, the interviewer may ask them what they’ll do if they don’t win, or if they’ll run again if they don’t win. And the response is always the same; “I’m convinced I will win, my platform is excellent, yada yada”. Is there some reason that they never actually say what they might do? Is there some psychological trick that means admitting the possibility they may lose will mean people won’t vote for them?

I suspect that admitting to having a plan B would be perceived as a sign of weakness (by other candidates rather than the voters.)

You don’t walk into a sales call thinking “what if I don’t make this sale?”

You don’t walk into a final exam thinking “what if I flunk?”

You don’t play baseball thinking “what if I strike out?”

You don’t give yourself, and certainly not your supporters, a rationale for not voting for you.

But I walked into my medical-school interviews with a solid plan for what to do next year if I don’t get in, and I don’t consider that a weakness. I think it made me less nervous (after all, even if I flubbed it, I have something to do next year) and more sane than a number of my friends who had no plans last year and were left in the lurch by their overconfidence.

The fact that candidates don’t dare admit it in public, for all of those good reasons above, doesn’t mean they don’t *have * backup plans, or don’t understand the possibility that they’ll need them.