Can Politicians Live Up to Their Promises?


Whenever election time rolls around, politicians begin jet-setting around the country to make their campaign promises. During the 2016 presidential election, pledges ranged from slashing taxes to bringing jobs back to America to pulling troops from overseas, and overhauling America’s healthcare system. There was even talk about abolishing the IRS.

For those candidates who do get elected into office, there’s often a lot of scrutiny about whether they’re delivering on their promises, and there’s often very opposing views on their performances.

With partisanship on the rise, it often depends on who is being asked. In fact, LiveScience pointed to the fact that “news readers gorge on media messages that fit their pre-existing views, rather than graze on a wider range of perspectives.” In other words, they consume what they agree with, researchers say.

An article in Psychology Today points out that “it may seem that the negative climate in politics has gotten worse in recent years, but broken promises and voter discontent are hardly 21st century phenomena. Perhaps what’s new is the extensive repository of videos that can now be contrasted with the actions (or inaction) of those who’ve won an election. People don’t have to rely on the sometimes vague and obscure print media; a politician’s glaring inconsistencies now go viral within minutes of the discovery.”

Some experts believe that most politicians have the best intentions, but other factors tend to play a role. According to The Atlantic, once presidents assume office, they almost always try to carry out their pre-election agendas. “When they’re unable to keep those promisesit’s usually because of congressional oppositionnot because they’ve discarded campaign rhetoric to pursue other goals.”