Polls have shown routinely that large numbers of Americans know very little about how our political system works.—Sal Gentile
Politicians know that Americans, on average, are not the most well-informed electorate anymore, if they ever were. At no time in U.S. history, is this more apparent than in the current presidential race. It’s mind-boggling to see thousands of committed and uncommitted voters pack candidates’ rallies and debates to cheer for candidates who promise them the moon with pie in the sky on the side in order to secure their vote. Hardly if ever do voters question the candidates’ ability to deliver on their campaign promises or, what’s more, how they plan to do it? The candidates know full well it’s unlikely they will be able to deliver on all they promise. Still, they continue to lure voters in with declarations of what THEY will do as president on day one—
- Repeal and replace Obamacare
- Reform the tax code
- Get rid of the IRS
- Raise the minimum wage
- De-fund Planned Parenthood
- Free healthcare, free education
- Reform Social Security, Medicare and Immigration
—because it plays well with voters, especially uninformed voters.
Anyone whose had a Civics 101 class in grade school knows that our government is comprised of three branches, namely the Executive, Legislative and Judicial, with equal power under Articles 1-3 of the U.S. Constitution. The Founding Fathers purposely designed it this way so that “No one monkey runs the whole show,” so to speak. In other words, no one branch is the dominate power in the government process.
The three branches share equal influence and power through a very deliberate system of checks and balances. This means is that in spite of what Hillary, Bernie, The Donald, Ted Cruz, Mario Rubio or any of the other candidates say, none of them has the singular power, even as the president, to affect any of the changes they are proposing in their campaign speeches and debates. If they say otherwise, they lie. In 2008, we learned that—
Election promises may be instrumental in getting an official elected to office. Election promises are often abandoned once in office. Strong pressures drive politicians to make unrealistic promises. A party that does not make exaggerated promises might lose gullible voters.—Election Promise
The job of president requires someone who is skilled in the art of compromise and negotiation, someone who has demonstrable administrative acumen and a significant record of accomplishment close to what’s required for the job. These are the criteria on which voters should be evaluating presidential job-seekers. And the kinds of things we should be hearing about from the candidates themselves. All the partisan fighting, in-fighting, mudslinging and negative campaigning only serves to obscure the real issues and detract voters’ attention away from the job of choosing the person who best embodies the aforementioned qualities.
In many ways, voters are the eternal optimists who can’t learn from experience. We want to believe that our politicians will improve our lives. But when post-election reality hits, we forget how unrealistic we were in believing that somehow “this time,” the outcome would be different.—Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.
The question voters should be asking of the candidates in this election cycle is, “As president, how would your administration propose to work with the Congress and the Judiciary branches to move the government forward?” Obviously, any candidate who espouses a lone eagle approach to the presidency will not have success in the job, and should not even be considered.
Likewise, good character and integrity are far more important to the presidency than what is promised on the campaign trail. We, the people, have the ultimate responsibility of deciding who, among the candidates, fits the bill. Choosing the next president is an awesome responsibility that will impact the future of this country well into the coming generations. Therefore, it is incumbent upon voters to be fully engaged in the process, fully vet the candidates, listen carefully to what they all say (not just the one you support), then make up your own mind.