What makes you believe in someone? Many times it comes down to a promise. This year’s Presidential race features two candidates who are willing to throw verbal jabs. Those jabs also include promises, some of which are down right horrific. Mostly coming from one side in particular (T-R-U-M-P).
You may be thinking: Lying to the public to get into public office seems normal. However, according to Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com, most politicians do keep their promises. In the majority of instances a “good faith effort” is given to make a pledge come to fruition. From 11 publications there was an average of 67% with a share of promises kept. An example can be quickly found from the website PolitiFact that recently examined 500 promises from President Obama and found that he had reached a compromise or fully kept 70% of them.
“This pattern isn’t unique to America. Scholars in Canada and Europe have examined the phenomenon and found their politicians to be, if anything, even more trustworthy.”
Another important question to ask: “What is the hot-button topic that sways your vote”? Candidates could hit on any number of issues that strike a chord, like taxes, immigration, the military or free ponies (more on ponies later)! There have been enough previous Presidential candidates to create a verbal blunderbuss full of promise ammo. Most of these ideas were infuriating at the time. Looking back we can laugh and exhale a sigh of relief… Most of them, at least.
15 Donald Trump: “We Will Build A Wall”
Starting with the most obvious: Donald Trump has told any microphone in front of him that he will “build a wall,” dividing the United States and Mexico. Not only that, but “Mexico will pay for it.” There are big questions the public has for Mr. Trump. How will you make Mexico build the wall? Are you serious? This type of xenophobic, hate speech is serving to be an additional agitation for tumultuous race relations in the United States. This is one of those topics that gets people on both sides of the argument red-faced and fuming. Donald Trump would be an excellent comedic foil, but due to his “Wall” idea, amongst many more, he is just down right scary.
14 Hermain Cain: Veto Any Bill Longer Than Three Pages
In 2011, Presidential hopeful, Hermain Cain was extremely peeved. Why? Because, words! Cain was bothered by the amount of bills Congress passed that took him too long to read. Here is what Cain told the audience at the Family Leader Presidential Lecture series in Pella, Iowa:
“Engage the people. Don’t try to pass a 2,700 page bill. – And even they didn’t read it! You and I didn’t have time to read it. We’re too busy trying to live. Sending our kids to school. That’s why I am only going to allow small bills – three pages. You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table. What does Herman Cain, President Cain talk about in this particular bill?”
Some things need a little more than three pages, like Congressional bills making enormous decisions for the country. Most Americans are probably fine with a little jargon if it means no stone is left unturned.
13 Mitt Romney: Immigration Reform
When laying out his plans in 2012 as the Republican front-runner, a huge goal of Mitt Romney’s was an extreme overhaul of immigration laws. Romney was in favor of a strengthened system of tracking illegal immigrants through their U.S. employers. He expected a completion of the U.S.-Mexico border fence and opposed any broad move to establish a path to citizenship except for those who served in the armed forces. So in other words, if you want to be here it’s not going to be a cakewalk. That being said, he did promise those who study legally in the United States, "if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here – so we will staple a green card to your diploma."
Due in part to all of this Romney won a mere 27% of the Latino vote. Katie Parker Gage, Romney’s Deputy Campaign Manager wrote an article for Politico where she stated:
“Using harsh rhetoric that defines anything short of deportation as ‘amnesty ‘ — without any plan for real immigration reform — may receive applause at a town hall meeting in Concord, New Hampshire, or a house party in Cedar Rapids. Iowa. And it may be popular with a small number of GOP primary voters and conservative talking heads, but it doesn’t win the hearts of the majority of primary voters and it alienates critical general election constituencies.”
12 Michele Bachmann: She Would Pull U.S. Troops Out Of Libya And Africa
In a 2011 speech during a GOP debate, Bachmann said she had considered cutting most things, including certain areas of defense spending. She also blamed the Obama administration for putting the military in areas that were unnecessary, implying that she would escort them back home. Bachmann is quoted as stating, “The President, he put us in Libya. Now he is putting us in Africa.”
It is safe to assume that one of Bachmann’s advisors gave her a quick map lesson and told her that Libya is in Africa. A lack of foreign policy knowledge or directional knowledge? Bachmann had previously noted how geography wasn’t exactly her forte. Either way, this didn’t help the American people trust Bachmann going forward. She had made a number of gaffes in the before this, like “wishing Elvis a Happy Birthday on the day of his death.”
11 Al Gore: Keep Bush Out Of The White House: Zebra’s Don’t Change Their Spots
Al Gore is a lover all things earth, so it comes as little surprise when he brings up animals or nature in a speech. However, promising that George Bush would not make it to the White House by saying, “A zebra does not change its spots.”
Three years later, at a press conference, Gore went all in on the joke: “We all know the leopard can’t change his stripes." This may have been a misprint or a rumor, but rolling with it years later gives Gore a slight upper hand than most on this list, with far less egg on his face.
10 Ted Cruz: Abolish The IRS
Come on Ted, their job is hard enough! During the latest Presidential race Ted Cruz waged battle against the Internal Revenue Services. Why? People clapped when he said it. The tax code has not become any easier for your average American to understand, quite the contrary, which is why people need more help navigating it. Cutting back on IRS Enforcement could mean giving a fairly lenient break to cheats and aggressive tax planners. Soon, the losses would add up and cost would have to be offset somehow.
Enough with the boring stuff, what does this all mean? Essentially, if Cruz’s promise had gone into effect, the Average Joe would be footing the bill. Yes, it’s nicer that the IRS might not be hounding you, but the price gets paid one way or another. Good ol Lyin' Ted.
9 Sarah Palin: Going Rogue
What does going rogue mean? Is it going to see the new Star Wars spinoff movie more than once? If it’s what former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin was referring to, we probably don’t want any part of it. Palin has a shoot from the hip, fact check later attitude. McCain staff members noticed this bravado about her, which is what helped secure her position as Presidential running mate. That is what makes her an excellent talking head on conservative related television shows and a natural choice to get a reality show.
Palin’s promise to be rogue pertained more to the next election cycle, which she was never actually a part of, but “going rogue” was already a campaign platform or slogan. So she was going to be “more rogue,” roguer, the roguest? Palin did title her book, Going Rogue: An American Life, so at least the R-word didn’t die in vain. She later went on to give a keynote speech at the first Tea Party Convention and also endorses Donald Trump in our current race.
8 John F. Kennedy: Man On The Moon
The Space Race in the 60’s had both the United States and the Soviet Union trying to one up each other. People thrive under pressure or crumble under the weight of expectations. Which is why Kennedy’s moon landing promise was so important to the nation. It was about proving superiority, but also creating that pressure for NASA’s brilliant minds. Americans feared being left behind after a Soviet Cosmonaut was the first to enter space. On May 25, 1961, Kennedy gave the speech, "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs":
“This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, material and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline, which have not always characterized our research and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful interagency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel.”
Kennedy’s speech essentially concluded with a call to action for United States citizens, leaving the people nervous for what was to come.
7 George W. Bush: Getting To Mars
In 2004, President Bush released what he called a "new course" for the nation's space program in a speech at NASA headquarters, shifting the long-term focus from the space shuttle and the international space station to the creation of a new manned space vehicle that will be flying with a crew in 10 years and will return humans to the moon by 2020. He also had larger aspirations, like getting to Mars.
"With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration – human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond."
Administration sources told CNN at the time that, “the earliest date for a journey to the red planet would be 2030.” This would actually be pretty exciting had it not been for the severe amount of budgetary cuts NASA has faced. We may be scared of the unknown, but who knows what’s out there? Hopefully, one day, by 2030, we will.
6 Newt Gingrich: U.S. Colony On The Moon
One last space related promise for good measure. This one comes from the 2012 Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Thousands of people lost jobs due to the fact that space shuttle program had been grounded. More space exploration was music to the ears NASA.
"By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American," he said.
Earth already had a space colony orbiting, The International Space Station, which was around $100 billion to create and take care of. NASA could certainly build a colony on the Moon. They know how to get there, and they know what to do when they land. Engineers have already designed the rockets, the spacecraft, the rovers, and inflatable habitats -- all prepared after President George W. Bush proposed in 2004 to go back to the moon. With the way the economy was in 2012, not many saw the moon as a necessity.
5 Vermin Supreme: Every American Gets A Pony!
Running under the Libertarian Party, Vermin Supreme may be the strangest candidate to run for office. The performance artist who wears a boot on his head and carries around a large toothbrush has been anything but conventional over the years. Supreme has run for President multiple times, Glitter Bombing opponents and making onlookers uncomfortable in the various cities he travels to. He has previously promised to pass a law requiring everyone to brush his or her teeth.
All that being said, one of Supreme’s most memorable ideas involved ponies. Everybody loves ponies! In August 2012, Supreme announced a new political party, the Free Pony Party. Yes, it’s just as it seems, the party runs on the platform that everyone gets their own pony. So, how is he not President yet? It might be because he teamed with another fringe opponent, Jimmy McMillan who was still running on his Rent Is Too Damn High platform and because a president with a boot hat might creep some people out. Regardless, we need these ponies!
4 Chris Christie: Marijuana Prosecution
Medical Marijuana becoming legal from state to state seems like a pretty progressive and non-invasive type of change to most people. That’s not the case for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who, in 2015, doubled down on his conservative stances. Christie called marijuana a “gateway drug.” He pointed the finger at the Obama Administration for not enforcing laws to curb the country's addiction problem.
“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,” Christie warned. “As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.”
Christie ignored polls where young republicans favored recreational marijuana use, by arguing that you can’t focus on all of the polls. Unfortunately for Christie, medical marijuana is tightly restricted, but legal in New Jersey.
3 Dennis Kucinich: Arrest George W. Bush
Former Cleveland Mayor, Dennis Kucinich, wanted George W. Bush not only out of office, but put in jail. On June 10, 2008, Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on the floor of the House of Representatives. He accused Bush of misleading the country into war, manufacturing evidence to sway public opinion and abuse of his executive power.
None of the charges made it to a full House vote. They did garner Kucinich plenty of airtime with the media though. He did make it abundantly clear that he was not kidding around and those in charge better “remember their Miranda Rights.”
2 Warren G. Harding: “Return To Normalcy”
The 29th U.S. president, Warren Harding served in office from 1921 to 1923 before dying of an apparent heart attack. Harding’s presidency was overshadowed by the criminal behavior of some of his cabinet members and other government officials, although he himself was not involved in any wrongdoing. In 1920, he won the general election in a rout, promising a “return to normalcy” after the hardships of World War I. Why might this have unnerved some people? They wanted to move forward and not necessarily go back to the way things were before the war. As President he favored limited immigration and businesses.
1 Rick Santorum: The Ban On Hard-Core Porn
"America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography," Rick Santorum's official website read. "Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking."
"If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so (enforce obscenity laws)," Santorum writes in 2012. "While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration."
Many wondered if Santorum’s crackdown on pornography could work. A big question it raised with it: If the government had the power to stop you from viewing porn on the Internet than what's next, slightly obscene photos?
Someone already on this list, Michele Bachmann also supported this idea. Congratulations to Michele Bachmann who wins the list with two promises!