As the presidential election rounds the corner to relevance I tease out lessons from politics that we can apply to our personal relationships.


Pro: In a campaign the candidate doesn’t just operate on gut instinct. Instead he/she regularly takes the pulse of the people that get him/her elected. Imagine being regularly polled on what matters to you, what you would like your partner to focus on, and what your families resources should go to for the greatest good. Real time data could keep your desires and concerns front of mind. Right where they belong.

Con: In politics the polls are used more for perception than reality, which wouldn’t work as well at promoting our personal interests. Every candidate needs to speak to a broad and fickle populace. My partner just needs to speak to a fickle broad.

Moderated Debate

Pro: Financial oversight, equal pay for equal work ( or even just equal work), and early education are all topics that cross over from the TV to the TV room. Practicing our message with professionals might help us make a compelling case. Having a paid moderator is sort of like therapy. But in this case the tax payers foot the bill.  The most useful tip we can take from presidential debates might be a specific time to talk, and time limit to the talking. We can avoid all the little skirmishes and save up our pontification points for that date certain, and be certain that the conversation won’t last forever.

Con: Of course experience shows that candidates and partners both waffle between slinging mud, and hiding their real opinions. When the debate becomes a campaign we have lost its effectiveness in solving our nations or household’s problems.

Term Limits

Pro: I see potential benefits of term limits in our personal life. Re-election requires campaigning, which in turn requires taking the interests and concerns of our constituents into account. Wouldn’t it be great if your partner always knew what mattered most to you and tried to represent your interests?Imagine the effort that he/she would take to win you over each day trying to stay ahead in the polls.

Con: Realistically much of campaigning is posturing rather than listening, and certainly it is a monologue rather than a dialogue. The general idea that we are never a lock, and that we need to stay relevant to one another is a worthwhile message we can take from politicking.

What have I missed? Is there anything else we can pick out from politics?



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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble,, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at

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