First, let’s get on the same page. Not all politicians that run a campaign want to or plan to win.
The recent example is the Brexit. As soon as they won the referendum, all leaders of the movement scattered. They literally couldn’t find any Brexit Supporters. The position of PM was left to the reluctant Theresa May, who opposed Brexit.
Speaking of May, we have a local example in Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party of Canada. In the 2015 federal election, she promised abolition of university tuitions and pardon of student loans greater than $10K.
Because her party was not going to win, this did not face the same level of scrutiny, only leaving a massively pleasant feeling in the hearts of many voters. This is the type of promise that one makes only when they are certain they don have to follow up on it, however. Because they can’t. Her plan to finance this plan? Raise the corporate tax to 19 %. The End. If there were any attention on May at all, there is no way this got away the way it did.
Anyone who has been paying attention to Canada’s politics know one thing. Messing with corporate taxes is very tricky with never the expected results. For years, provinces cut corporate taxes using “stimulating economy” as an excuse. It accomplished the true aim – winning the elections – but did nothing to the economy. Raising corporate taxes are reported by many researchers as being more unpredictable (e.g. Fraser Institute, 2015).
It would be a massive insult to Elizabeth May for me to compare her to Trump in the degree of the empty promises.
Trump rarely even explains how he plans to make his promises come true, and, when he does, the plans are completely impossible. Not infeasible but impossible. He promises, for instance, to personally hire and appoint the best law enforcement officers and judges. That is the states’ autonomy, and POTUS has no authority to do that.
He tells you he will eliminate violence from the streets and celebrates endorsements from NRA. He promises to look after the African American children in poverty with no details and no identification of the causes. Protection of legal immigrants without any details on what he is protecting them from. Equal rights for LGBTQ without even knowing how to pronounce it. Promises to go after terrorists fast and hard, implying USA currently does not have the best intelligence. Vowing to form alliance with Isreal with no consideration to the sensitive situations of middle east.
He is a man in a reality show that does not plan to be elected.
His “show,” however, will have a long-lasting impact on the country’s politics. In the way you can’t stop wondering “what if” about that prom date that moved away. Our imagination favours the promises of the future. Clinton, if she is elected, will have to battle against these imaginations, not against what Trump would have actually accomplished. And, as we all know, that is an impossible ask.