Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old Yesterday, 01:16 PM
puddleglum's Avatar
puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,674

Unrealistic promises are leading to voter cynicism and the rise of extremism


Getting any consequential law passed in the US is really hard, probably harder than at any point in history. Democracy is about math, if you don't have the numbers, it doesn't matter how hard you fight, or how righteous your cause. You have to have a comfortable majority in the house, a filibuster proof majority in the senate, and a willing president. Anything less means failure.

After the law is passed there are years of lawsuits that the law must survive at various levels.
If the law passes the courts those in opposition will be extra motivated at the next election, while supporters will be happy and complacent. This means that the opposition will likely win the next election and then begin to undermine the law.

Despite this, candidates for office are constantly promising plans for laws that could never pass even if there party had control of the entire government. If you tune into any political debate it sounds like the candidates are trying to become dictators, not one part of a huge system where everything has to go perfectly for anything to get done.

Because the plans are so ambitious and the power to implement them is so limited, both parties need a go to excuse. For the Republicans it is because the media elite and their allies are preventing it. For Democrats it is because politicians have been bought off by corporate money. Both explanations have a kernel of truth but totally miss the actual reason nothing gets done.

This breeds extremism, because Republican voters think that anybody the media elite hate, must be doing something right, while Democrat voters think that anybody in office has been bought off by plutocrats. Thus candidates like Trump and Sanders flourish.

The only solution is for voters to stand up and stop voting for people with pie in the sky plans instead of a history of actually getting laws passed. Politicians won't be honest about how hard governing actually is, until voters start rewarding honesty.
  #2  
Old Yesterday, 02:06 PM
Happy Fun Ball is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The down hill slope
Posts: 3,180
You know, I actually typed up a big response and almost hit post before I realized this well is too poisoned with just one post that it is not worth participating.

Good luck.
  #3  
Old Yesterday, 02:14 PM
bump is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 18,440
I think I see where the OP is coming from- basically what's happening is that when a candidate makes a huge absurd promise and then fails to deliver (as they all do), the electorate isn't holding them responsible, because they claim they're being thwarted in their ambitions by those bastards on the other side of the aisle, and the electorate believes it, instead of perceiving these guys as the a-holes and frauds they really are.

What's worse to me is that the proposal of absurd positions by politicians isn't seen as a detractor anymore for this reason- it used to be that someone who promised too much was looked at skeptically, but now it seems like the bigger the better; if you're proposing realistic stuff, you look like you're not sufficiently committed or something.
  #4  
Old Yesterday, 02:22 PM
Velocity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 15,410
Part of this is that our media today doesn't reward sound, well-thought out policies that take up 3-4 pages - it rewards zingers, burns and bumper-sticker quotes in debates or quips by politicians that take up no more than 10 words.
  #5  
Old Yesterday, 02:28 PM
puddleglum's Avatar
puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by bump View Post
I think I see where the OP is coming from- basically what's happening is that when a candidate makes a huge absurd promise and then fails to deliver (as they all do), the electorate isn't holding them responsible, because they claim they're being thwarted in their ambitions by those bastards on the other side of the aisle, and the electorate believes it, instead of perceiving these guys as the a-holes and frauds they really are.

What's worse to me is that the proposal of absurd positions by politicians isn't seen as a detractor anymore for this reason- it used to be that someone who promised too much was looked at skeptically, but now it seems like the bigger the better; if you're proposing realistic stuff, you look like you're not sufficiently committed or something.
Not just that they blame the bastards on the other side, but that the other side is motivated by either contempt of ordinary americans, or has been bribed into their positions. Thus the whole system is corrupt and the only hope is someone outside the system.

However, the problem is that governing is difficult for an insider, but practically impossible for an outsider. Getting up to speed about how Washington works and where the levers of power are takes years if not decades.

Last edited by puddleglum; Yesterday at 02:33 PM.
  #6  
Old Yesterday, 02:32 PM
puddleglum's Avatar
puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Part of this is that our media today doesn't reward sound, well-thought out policies that take up 3-4 pages - it rewards zingers, burns and bumper-sticker quotes in debates or quips by politicians that take up no more than 10 words.
The problem is the media is only responding to what people demand. The highest rated news programs are not civil discussions of tradeoffs but people shouting about how evil the other side is. The same thing with newspapers publishing clickbait instead of actual news.
  #7  
Old Yesterday, 02:47 PM
Shodan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 40,003
Elizabeth Warren is saying that she will come out with details on how she is going to pay for Medicare for All. She is doing so at least in part as a response to being hammered on the question in the debates.

That seems to me to be a step forward.
Quote:
"My view on this, and what I have committed to, is costs will go down for hard-working, middle-class families," Warren said, again stressing that taxes on the wealthy and big corporations would fulfill the bulk of the financing before pledging that she would "not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle class families."
Of course we have heard the promise that premiums would go down overall in the past. So it is not just a matter of specifics, but how believable the plan is.

Also from the cite -
Quote:
A new study by the Urban Institute, released Wednesday, said that federal spending on health care would increase by roughly $34 trillion under a single-payer plan similar to Medicare for All. That number is in line with earlier studies that pegged the cost at around $32 trillion.
If this is the same as the last Urban Institute analysis, it includes some very hard parts - namely that doctors and health care providers would be reimbursed at Medicare rates. Which is by no means a slam dunk as to whether or not she could bring it off. As I have mentioned several times in the past, doctors lose money on 65-80% of their Medicare patients.

Warren wants to eliminate private insurance. That would imply that Medicare rates are all that the doctors are going to get paid.

Not sure how she can bring that off. Just saying "doctors will have to suck it up and charge less" is not IMO a good answer.

Regards,
Shodan
  #8  
Old Yesterday, 03:13 PM
puddleglum's Avatar
puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 6,674
The problem with Medicare for All is not just that there is no realistic way to pay for it, but no realistic way to pass it. Medicare is a money loser for most doctors and hospitals.
Anyone in a swing district or state who voted for it would lose the doctor, nurse, and associated profession vote forever. 8.7% of the population works in the medical field, that is too many people for any politician in a competitive race to anger.

The Vermont legislature is 80% democrats. They couldn't pass single payer because it would raise taxes too much. If they couldn't do it, how can they do it in the congress where it is almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans?
  #9  
Old Yesterday, 03:34 PM
RioRico is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: beyond cell service
Posts: 190
Politicians usually promise more than can be delivered. It's a millennia-old tradition.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017