This chapter addresses the central question for democracy: how can we get the government to pursue the policies people want? It aims to distinguish between party and government policy ‘targets’ and the policy actually being implemented. Elections normally change the party composition of governments since people often feel negatively affected by some of the things the current government has done since the last election and vote against it – a reaction termed ‘the costs of governing’. The chapter discusses the election and inter-election processes which ensure that long-term policy evolves in line with citizen preferences. The more policy decisions move on to a general level and away from specific decisions about one’s own family and circumstances, however, the harder it is to decide what their personal consequences will be. The chapter concludes by considering the consequences of the processes for the ‘necessary connection’ between preferences and policy that democracy seeks to make.