Empty Campaign Promises Exposed by the First 24 Hours


A consistent trend of the often polarizing and tumultuous American elections is the presence of grand proposals. Political campaigns are won by the scale of the changes politicians propose; however, politicians, especially those aiming to be elected to significant Congressional or Executive positions, are infamous for promising more than can be realistically accomplished. This common development undoubtedly causes voters to feel betrayed and unrepresented. However, more often than not, they continue to fall prey to similar grand gestures the following election year.


 In this particular election, politicians from all parties feel a sense of urgency that was not present during past presidential campaigns. Thus, as the candidates believe Americans will vote for whomever is the most dedicated to dramatic change, the promises made during this presidential campaign are unique not only due to the magnitude of change proposed, but also due to the speed at which candidates envision themselves uprooting institutions made by past presidents.


That theme permeates every aspect of this year’s presidential election: the debates degenerate quickly into personal feuds and opposing candidates threaten lawsuits while the world looks on in bemusement and horror. In spite of the undignified and venomous behavior that candidates have demonstrated during this election, voters continue to support candidates that defy the traditional role of campaigns because they believe in the feasibility of the candidates’ often-outrageous platforms. This raises the question of whether campaign platforms have any actual bearing of the trajectory of a president’s tenure. If so, the United States, as a country, must consider whether to it possible for the nation to undergo significant change at the accelerated rate at which it has been proposed. If not, then the reason behind the fanfare of election season must be considered.


In a survey of this year’s Republican candidates, candidates almost universally stated that they anticipate themselves beginning their first day of President of the United States in a dramatic fashion.  Within the first twenty-four hours of the Presidency, Canadian born, Sen. Ted Cruz plans, among other things, to rescind all executive orders made by President Obama, “rip up” the Iran nuclear deal framework, and begin a Department of Justice investigation of Planned Parenthood.  Cruz’s main opposition, the ever controversial, Donald Trump of the Celebrity Apprentice fame, aims to abolish all gun-free zones on schools and military bases, prevent outsourcing, order the U.S. Treasury Department to declare China a currency manipulator, and like Cruz rescind all of President Obama’s executive orders. The crowning achievement of Trump’s first 24 hours, however, would be his plans to round up and deport each and every “bad” immigrant. Trump states, “It starts with getting the bad ones. Day one. If I win, day one of my presidency, they’re getting out. We’re getting them out. We’re getting them out fast.”


Nature and legality of these proposals aside, these are truly ambitious plans for any 24 hour period. Accomplishing these actions would be an unprecedented feat in speed (and abuse of Executive power) unmatched by any prior president. For a frame of reference, President George W. Bush’s schedule for his first day in office included sleeping, having coffee with his parents, and adjusting to life in the White House. While addressing reporters about his first day in the White House, Bush stated that the excitement of the previous night’s inauguration had left him tired, ”I slept pretty well. I was exhausted from dancing so much.”


It was not as if Bush was a particularly unambitious or fatigued Presidential candidate. At the time, the President’s priority was planning a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut, which he had promised would be his first task as President during his campaign. The proposal would later develop into the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which was officially signed into law on June 7, 2001. Bush was inaugurated in January 20, 2001.


From this example, it is clear that political campaigns in the United States, specifically those concerning Executive Power, purposely create a false conception of legislation in the United States. Legislation moves through the United States slowly and purposely so that possible flaws may be carefully considered by a group of people which, due to separation of powers, is comprised of more than one branch of the government, not just the Executive branch. Therefore, it is not only misleading for candidates to make such impactful plans at unrealistic rates, it is irresponsible as it only sets voters, who are ignorant of the political process in this nation, up for inevitable disappointment.


In the intense climate of this year’s election, those frontrunners should be wary of this trend. It is indeed easier to receive votes, by capitalizing off the general ignorance of the population than it is to be honest about the timeline requisite for achieving a goal; however, when one reflects about about past presidential achievements vis a vis the common good, “easy” is not often the best strategy.


–Colette Juran, Science Editor 

Posted by on February 24, 2016. Filed under Op-Ed. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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