We’ve tried throughout the past few months to alert voters to the idea that what is often promised in campaigns is also often the first promise to be forgotten, tabled, or modified out of recognition. Or, even more simply, denied that it was ever promised at all, that someone else said it, that the remark was misquoted or misspoken, that the questioner is simply lying.
This is particularly important for Trump’s followers, who have received everything the Donald has said, promised, hinted at, threatened, or handed down from a mountaintop, as in fact already done.
No matter how fantastic his ideas, no matter how unrealistic his proposals, his fans ignore the negative possibilities for accomplishments on the horizon.
What we’ve warned is that millions of Republicans or at least voters who favor Trump are going to be mightily disappointed. Very few of his plans measure up to even being possible, let alone something the nation can afford.
Which is to say, if they (the voters) are angry now, think how much more angry they’re going to be.
A new political term has erupted this year: “walking back.” This refers to campaign slogans, promises, attacks that energize the voting base but which, finally, after criticism and dissection, are seen to be so untrue that even Mr. Trump has to “walk back” what he’s said and fine tune, alter, or deny altogether that he so much as breathed the idea.
We now have a clear example before us, from Great Britain, of what we can expect in this country in November and following, should Mr. Trump (or even Mrs. Clinton) be elected.
During the BREXIT debates abroad, promises too were made. The most egregious but the one that people most badly wanted to believe was this: that if England withdrew from the European Union, the $470 million dollars it sends to Brussels weekly will no longer be necessary, and that that money can go to improving the National Health system.
The “Leave” forces even decorated a red bus with this election slogan: “We send the EU 350 million pounds a week, let’s fund our N.H.S. instead.”
Within hours of the vote’s tabulation, Nigel Farage, fiercest leader of the “Leave” troops, admitted that the 350 million pound figure was “a mistake.”
Supporters of the “Remain” side are now attributing “Leave’s” victory to a campaign of misinformation and even deception.
Promises during the campaign to reduce immigration levels are now also being played down. Said M.P. Daniel Hannan, stunning viewers of the BBC: “Frankly, if people watching think that they have voted and there is now going to be zero immigration from the E.U., they are going to be disappointed.”
We’re aware here in the US of the push/pull conflicts within the Republican party. Just so were the English aware of the push/pull divisions within the Conservative Party, the party of “Remain.”
Now the victors, the “Leave” side, finds that its base is demanding that promises be kept. Which frankly is impossible.
Just so should Mr. Trump in particular be elected here.
The dissatisfactions that have driven Trump’s campaign from one corner of the country to another are exactly those that voters transfer to Mr. Trump because of his inability, or lack of knowledge of issues, to be precise and common sensible about what can be done to improve the nation.
Millions of unhappy Americans seem to have looked at the Donald and appended to his fair hair every dream ever held for a return to the era of Dwight Eisenhower. Should he win, and as he walks back his imprecise campaign rhetoric, those millions are going to grow – and grow red in the face because they will feel they’ve been had. And they will have been.
Opined The New York Times: “If (Boris Johnson) does become the prime minister, (he) will face the task of carrying out a British withdrawal without provoking a backlash from those who believed campaign slogans or sentiments that he certainly appeared to endorse.”
The best questions our American press (and citizens) should have asked – and those that the British press, too, should have put forward – are the simple ones: How? When? With what money?
Even deal-makers come up against rocks when wheeling and wheedling. Mr. Trump is dealing, and we, the voters, are on the opposite side of the table doubting but hopeful.
Hoping is grand, and keeps families and firms alive.
Hoping in the face of reality can be futile.
It’s not too late for anyone to demand that candidates be precise or walk back what they’re holding out as pie in the sky.