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125 notes chapter 1. are there ambitious politicians among us? 1. Cherie Maestas underscores the central role of career ambition in the American understanding of politics as follows: “The idea that ambition for office shapes the behavior of political leaders is hardly new, nor is it often disputed” (Maestas 2003: 440). 2. There is evidence, however, that women who are believed to be power-hungry are judged more harshly by others (Okimoto and Brescoll 2010). 3. In Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) professor of physiology Jared Diamond argues that environmental and technical differences caused people to form larger societies and abandon small, egalitarian tribes. 4. Niccolo Machiavelli’s analysis is perhaps the clearest example of why people mistrust individuals seeking a political career. The Prince gives us a glimpse into a crass reality in which politicians act beyond ethical considerations in the pursuit of power and riches. In the world depicted by Machiavelli, necessity must be made a virtue (rather than to act virtuously by necessity). The rulers are playing a dirty game, whose end is survival. This is not, however, something a ruler should publicly reveal; instead, a prince must appear exemplary . A prince should “appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, [and] upright”. When, however, the situation so demands, the prince must change his shape:“but the mind should remain so balanced that were it needful not to be so, you should be able and know how to change to the contrary”(Machiavelli 2001 chapter 18:6). If circumstances change, the ruler’s characteristics should also change. Machiavelli’s advice to those who aspired to the throne was to be as cunning as a fox when snares have been laid and as terrifying as a lion when his enemies are poised to attack. The problem for most rulers, according to Machiavelli, is that they were often either one or the other, but not both. In his studies of elites, Vilfredo Pareto elaborated on Machiavelli’s classification and pointed out that there are different types of elites who exercise their power in different ways. There are those who force others into submission (lions), and those who take control over material resources and by that means induce people to bend to their wishes (foxes). According to Pareto, foxes and lions come into conflict with one another, and the lions vanquish the foxes. But after some time on the throne, lions are transformed into foxes and thus lose power. In this way, new elites rise to challenge the old (Pareto 1935). 5. Thomas Hobbes reasoned differently. To him, the results a leader could deliver were the only thing that mattered; better a Leviathan than a social model in which decisions were made democratically (Hobbes 2009). 6. Honesty is the trait most highly valued in Sweden’s national politicians. In a survey undertaken in 2000, 97 percent of Swedish respondents answered that honesty was a very or fairly important trait in a politician (Hvitfelt and Nord 2000). 126 notes to pages 8–16 7. In the 1998 national election, the electoral system was changed to allow personal voting that could alter the order of party lists. However, the effects have been rather small (Oscarsson and Holmberg 2013:268). 8. The 1998 Parliamentary Study was included as a sub-study in the evaluation of the element of preference voting that debuted on the national stage that year. The survey was distributed to about 1,000 candidates to the parliament and was carried out by the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg under the direction of Martin Brothén and Sören Holmberg. The survey question from which the answer was derived read,“Generally speaking, what do you think of preference voting in connection with Swedish parliamentary elections?” 9. Svend Dahl (2011) shows that party members are schooled early on to adopt an attitude of disapproval toward political ambition. People who appear overtly interested in positions risk being dismissed as careerists. 10. The Parliamentary Studies have generated several publications, including Brothén and Holmberg, eds. 2010; Dahlström and Esaiasson 2013; Esaiasson and Holmberg 1996; Hagevi 1998; Holmberg 1974, 1997, 2003, 2006, 2010; Öhberg and Wängnerud 2014; Oskarson and Wängnerud 1995; and Wängnerud 1998, 2015. chapter 2. political ambition theory 1. The book was written in the 1930s but not published in the United States until 1967, where it met with scathing criticism. See, for example, Erik Erikson’s review in the New York Review of Books...


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