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Actions Are Stronger Than Words: Fulfilling Campaign Promises

February 07, 2017

Actions Are Stronger Than Words: Fulfilling Campaign Promises

“After believing in promises made and never fulfilled by Labour, people have become increasingly disenchanted with the process assuming that all politicians will say anything to gain power, and then never follow through.” –Adam Rickitt

This quote more often than not encapsulates how Americans feel about politics— all talk and nothing more. The New York Times asked voters in 2009 if they believed Obama would keep his promise about not raising taxes for the $250K and under income bracket, and 56% said “no.” And in a 2014 study done with voter-age citizens, 83% said they didn’t believe that most politicians kept their promises; only 4% believed they did. While this phenomenon isn’t uncommon, studies on various political timeframes in our country show that our elected leaders at least make a “good faith effort” to keep their promises and make them a reality, and in some cases, even keep about two-thirds of their campaign promises.

That said, actions are always stronger than words and making specific promises while campaigning lends benefit to show our nation what to expect from its next elected leader. Our 45th POTUS, Donald Trump, stated many things during voting season that, if elected, he’d be fulfilling. In swift and precise fashion, he has already started on several of the largest, hot-button issues he promised he’d work on. And, as you know if you follow the news or keep up on social media, it’s causing an uproar for all kinds of reasons. There have been countless protests, marches, and riots -- because Trump is actually following through on what he said he would do. Your social media may also be giving you more of a headache these days as friends go at each others’ throats for speaking against or defending the happenings in our nation. (That’s an entirely different issue, but for etiquette on handling heated political conversations, hop on back to this post for a refresher. This one, too, if you want to take a break from all of the blocking/un-following to refresh your face-to-face relationships.)

If you haven’t taken a close look at Trump’s Executive Orders for the First 100 Days, give them a read here. For having been in office not even a month yet, he’s moved at a staggering pace, unprecedented by most American leaders, to achieve or begin the process for the following already:

  • halt all federal funding to sanctuary cities
  • sign executive orders to repeal ObamaCare
  • place lifetime ban on White House officials from lobbying for foreign governments
  • temporarily suspend immigration from terror-prone countries, including Syria and Libya
  • nominate Neil Gorsuch to replace Justice Antonin Scalia
  • sign executive order to increase ICE deportation officers
  • sign executive order to instate hiring freeze of government officials, with exception of public health, military and public safety)
  • sign executive order to build a wall at the southern border of the United States
  • order withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • approve resuming on Keystone XL project
  • sign executive order to repeal two regulations for every new regulation

How have Trump’s predecessors come out in fulfilling their campaign promises?

Out of sheer curiosity, we found this Obameter and had to share it. Over the course of 8 years and 500-plus promises made, Obama managed to keep 48% of them. 28% were considered compromises and 24% of his promises were broken. This is a very comprehensive review of what happened in the last 8 years and explains quite a bit why Trump is doing what he’s doing now.

But before Trump, before Obama, what have been some memorable campaign promises-turned-reality?

  • Eisenhower- 1952- “I shall go to Korea.” (His promise to find a way to end the Korean War helped him win the election, and the armistice was signed in July 1953 – 7 months after his inauguration.)
  • John F. Kennedy- 1961- “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” (We landed on the moon in 1969.)
  • Polk- 1845- Interestingly, James K. Polk is the only American President in history to keep all of his campaign promises—re-establishing the Independent Treasury System, reducing tariffs, acquiring some or all of Oregon Country, and acquiring/purchasing California and New Mexico from Mexico. He managed to do all four of these things in the four years he was President.
  • Lincoln- 1860- “I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none.” OK, this is a technicality, but Lincoln was wise enough to not make any promises in a then-heated and divided landscape with the nation on the brink of war and tensions of slavery and racism at their height.

No doubt about it, whether you agree or disagree, Trump’s actions match his words and he’s fulfilling promises made on the campaign trail.

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(Sources: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trust-us-politicians-keep-most-of-their-promises/, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/follow_through.html, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/, http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/politics/gallery/presidential-promises/ , https://www.quora.com/Which-Presidents-of-the-United-States-have-actually-kept-all-of-the-promises-that-they-made-during-their-elections, http://millercenter.org/president/biography/lincoln-campaigns-and-elections)