The Obscure Logic Of Elections

Cicero, Pro Murena 35-36 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)

“What strait or what channel do you imagine has as many currents, twists, and tide changes as the disturbances in the breaking waves produced by elections? A missed day or extra night often changes everything and a small whisper of a rumor can transform public opinion.

Often too, something happens without any clear reason and and you notice how the people are frequently amazed at what happened, as if they didn’t do it themselves! Nothing is more uncertain than a mob; nothing is less clear than what people want; nothing is more obscure than the whole logic of elections!”

Quod enim fretum, quem Euripum tot motus, tantas, tam varias habere putatis agitationes commutationesque fluctuum, quantas perturbationes et quantos aestus habet ratio comitiorum? Dies intermissus aut nox interposita saepe perturbat omnia, et totam opinionem parva non numquam commutat aura rumoris. Saepe etiam sine ulla aperta causa fit aliud atque existimaris, ut non numquam ita factum esse etiam populus admiretur, quasi vero non ipse fecerit. Nihil est incertius volgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum. 

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