Okay, that title a is a bit misleading. There isn’t a direct correlation between people who like pineapple on pizza and people who voted for Trump. They’re simply both different manifestations of the same root problem.
Let's jump straight to the analogy so we can avoid feeding any trolls with the nasty specifics. Also, here's a picture of a happy puppy to get you in a happy place before we dive into this less-than-happy subject.
It's lunch time at a totally-fake-corporation: Unified Sales Associates. 20 people are present for the lunch. Generally speaking, half these people always want sandwiches, and half always want pizza. But HR has a rule that we can only order a single type of food from a single vendor, because this isn't a perfect analogy. Don't think about it too hard.
HR says we should decide on two different options, and then vote on those. Everyone writes down their selection.
Let's look at the pizza side first.
All ten people write down their favorite* type of pizza and put it in a hat.
*NOTE: THEY'RE ALREADY DOING IT WRONG. MORE ON THAT LATER.
The list looks like this:
Pepperoni with Extra Cheese
Pepperoni Lover’s with Extra Cheese
PEPPERONI, BUT WITH ONE LITTLE BOOGER FOR SOME REASON
Pepperoni, but cut into 10 slices instead of 8.
When the votes are tallied, every single option receives 1 vote except for Pineapple, which receives 2. Because Pineapple has two votes, it has the plurality of votes. This is different than majority. The majority of people (80%) clearly prefer a pizza that has some combination of pepperoni and cheese (and one creep who also eats his own boogers), but this 80% vote was split between effectively identical options, giving the random long-shot of Pineapple the opportunity to score enough votes for a plurality.
So who's at fault here? If there had been an option for “Something with Pepperoni and Cheese and I don’t really care exactly what ratio” then most people probably would have been fine with that. The correct answer would have been for the moderator of this vote to remove all the similar suggestions, but people are selfish and always want their own personal favorite option to win. Besides, it didn’t seem like there was any possibility of Pineapple winning, so there was no point in abandoning their favorite, right?
Hold onto this thought. Let's check in on Sandwich Camp:
Things are a little better but it still gets messy. There’s this really great Italian Sandwich shop around the corner that’s been around forever and everyone knows it makes good sandwiches. Except Sally heard a rumor that it may have failed a recent health inspection. She can’t find any proof of that, and she’s not really sure where she heard it, but she suggests maybe a new Vegan Sandwich shop instead that nobody’s tried yet. The Vegan shop gets some traction until HR puts its foot down by reminding everyone they have a sales account with the Italian sandwich shop, so they’ve got to use it for sandwich catering purposes. This pisses off Sally, who decides there was no point in voting anyway if the end was already decided.
So when it finally comes time to vote, it's Pineapple Pizza vs. Italian Sandwich.
Voting goes like this:
Some of the sandwich people don’t vote because of the Sally thing.
Some others don’t vote because they’re not sure about that health inspection rumor, and they don't want to be to blame if everyone gets sick.
A few others don’t bother voting because they know there’s absolutely no way a group of twenty rational humans would ever allow pineapple pizza to be the sole food decision for all of them.
Some of those Pizza people are so anti-sandwich that they choose to stick with Pineapple. (Not because they want pineapple, but they think maybe they’ll be able to pick those pineapple pieces off and still eat the crust and marinara, not realizing the taste of pineapple will end up ruining everything)
The votes are cast.
5 votes for Italian Sandwiches
4 votes for Pineapple Pizza.
11 people who didn’t vote at all.
Oh and also HR has this stupid thing called the Electoral College where everyone in the night shift gets their vote multiplied by 1.5, because a super long time ago the night shift people were being really problematic and refused to sign off on HR's constitution, and they needed to give them something ... listen the analogy breaks down eventually. But somehow 4 is greater than 5 and now we've got a goddamned Pineapple Pizza lunch.
So. Who is at fault?
It's easy to blame the pineapple pizza people. But the issue here isn’t whether or not pineapple is good on a pizza. Some people think it tastes good, and there’s nothing we can do to change that. Ever.
Liking pineapple on pizza is not the problem.
Ready for the real problem? Have another puppy first.
The bigger problem, and I would argue potentially the biggest problem in our country, is that people vote selfishly. They vote for things that will make the world better for themselves, rather than things that will make the world better for the most number of people.
If you vote for pineapple pizza, you know this will be an unsatisfactory decision for most of the people in the room. You have erroneously been told that your vote should be for your favorite food, rather than the food you think would be best for the whole group. There is no way you could rationally argue that the correct decision for a large group of people is to order something that most people hate. Even if you personally love pineapple pizza, even if you personally hate pepperoni, you should vote for the decision that will benefit the most people, rather than the one thing you want.
Listen. I get it. I’m a picky eater. I’m constantly faced with scenarios in which I’m in a group and we have to decide where to go for dinner. But if everyone wants sushi (which I hate), then I go with it. I know there will probably be one menu item I can eat, or if not then I’ll eat later. I’m not thrilled, but it will make the group happy. Never ever in a million years would I instead demand that we go back to my house so I can make them buttered noodles with parmesan cheese.
Yes, I would love it. But nobody else would, and I’m not a monster.
Let me put it another way.
I love a long-since cancelled sci-fi show called Farscape (because it's amazing and still the best). If there was a presidential candidate who vowed to cancel every show on TV and replace them all with Farscape, would I vote for him? Having him as president would make my life better. But no, I would not vote for him. Because I recognize that most people would be pretty upset by it.
Yes, in my heart of hearts, I think that everyone should watch Farscape. I think that everyone would learn to love Farscape. But unfortunately, I'm wrong. And that person who thinks that pineapple pizza should be forced upon everyone is also wrong.
Those people who vote for pineapple on pizza, they’re not thinking about other people.
If you vote for a candidate because he best matches your own personal ideals, ask yourself if those ideals will help people beyond the circle of people you hang out with.
If you vote for a candidate because you share the same religion, ask yourself if that makes the world a better place for people of a different religion.
If you vote for a candidate because they want to put your city, or your state, or your country ahead of all other factors on this planet … ask yourself if that makes the world a better place.
Or does it only benefit you? You, and the immediate people you care about?
Stop voting for pineapple pizza.
I don’t care how much you like it.
You may have to occasionally sacrifice things you enjoy, but guess what? When the world is a better place, everyone benefits.
(Epilogue: Turns out that when the Pineapple Pizza was ordered, it wasn't even a Pineapple Pizza. It was just a drawing of a Pineapple Pizza, made in crayons by a toddler on the back of a smashed pizza box, and inside was nothing but mounds of dog crap. But the people who voted for it eat it anyway out of sheer stubbornness, and also just because they like watching other people eat shit.)
Nathan Makaryk is an author and comedian, follow him on Twitter to hear him complain about other stupid things.
His debut historical fiction novel NOTTINGHAM retells the legend of Robin Hood from viewpoints of multiple people on both sides of the conflict. Published by Tor/Forge, available here.