Don’t make promises you can’t keep

Politicians make all sorts of promises on campaign. But how often do they keep their word?

Martha Pietruszewski

If you happen to have a miraculously well-behaved family that doesn’t even come close to touching politics on Thanksgiving, then I salute you. 
 
My family, however, isn’t so respectful of the no-go Thanksgiving topic list. This year, I was forced to listen to my brother talk about things he probably doesn’t understand.
 
This made me think — what if most people were politically informed? And surely, most of them are. 
 
Politicians often make promises. Sometimes they keep them; sometimes they don’t. But what’s important for the upcoming 2016 presidential election is that politicians need to keep their promises. Voters are becoming more informed than ever. I mean, it’s pretty hard not to be informed with social media these days. 
 
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hasn’t specifically said he would make all Muslims in America register with a government database, but he hasn’t exactly denied it either. Regardless of the moral and constitutional issues with this promise, it’s something he might consider doing should he be elected president. 
 
I believe that, no matter the political affiliation, an informed voter would always vote “no” on this proposal. This is because a recent poll found more Americans would rather register gun owners than Muslims. Therefore, I have a hard time believing informed voters would hold Trump to a promise like that once they considered the consequences. 
 
This example shows that politics really is a two-way street. Obviously, you can’t please all of the American people. But in order to get some votes, it is necessary to understand what the people think and what policies seem to be more favorable than others. 
 
When I vote for someone, I expect them to keep their word. Former secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is promising debt-free public college degrees. That’s pretty awesome. However, we need Clinton to actually keep that promise if she’s going to have a shot at becoming the next 
president. This is because informed voters will expect her to keep her promises. Those promises are why they would have voted for her in the first place. 
 
People like promises because promises let them have a feeling for what the next four years of America will look like. Uncertainty can be really scary, and we aren’t going to vote for someone who doesn’t have a solid grip on their plans for the country. 
 
Because of this, it’s absolutely necessary for politicians to mean what they say. I don’t really know how Clinton is planning to enact debt-free college, but if I vote for her, it’s because I know that she’ll accomplish it somehow. 
 
Still, I know it isn’t humanly possible to keep all the promises you’ve ever made. The same goes for all politicians. President Barack Obama has kept almost half of his promises, but he has had to compromise on about a fourth of them, according to PolitiFact. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do.
 
So I challenge you — for next year’s Thanksgiving dinner, if you must have a conversation on politics, make sure you’re informed and can outsmart your brother at the table.