Campaign promises are like helium balloons. They’re big, full of gas, and once the party is over, they’re absolutely useless.
To be fair, it’s very difficult to nail down exactly what constitutes a campaign promise and what does not.
Certainly, it’s a candidate’s job to articulate what policies they propose and will pursue if elected, but VERY rarely do they use the phrase “I promise”, especially in the post-“Read my lips: no new taxes!” era and in these days of the viral interwebs.
Still, this doesn’t stop journalists and pundits and opposition campaign staff from wielding the word “promise” with abandon, hoping to nail someone for breaking their word.
Just googling around briefly before writing this, I found numerous articles with “[candidate] promises” in the headline, and when I read through the articles there is no actual promise to be found.
Certainly, promises can be implied, as it is with the use of the phrase “we will” (rather than “we might” or “we will try to”) in this example, from the candidate to whom I have pledged my support:
“This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change and, as your president, together we will change it.”
Now THAT is a skillful promise, not suggesting he’ll do it all by himself, but rather making it clear that he needs help.
Indeed, Bernie is the only candidate who has actually declared that, if elected, he will not be able to change a damn thing, a non-promise promise, if you will, a promise that sounds ludicrous coming from a candidate for President of the United States of America … unless you listen to exactly what he said, in context.
This video of Bernie Sanders making his non-promise promise has already been widely seen, it’s very likely the shortest video clip I’ve ever posted, but it may be the truest message I’ve ever posted, more than justifying the choice.