In elections, Democrats exaggerate their ability to deliver on promises

Clay Olsen

Election Day is right around the corner, but the result of the governor’s race already seems to be known. A Rasmussen poll has Abbott winning by 11 points and CBS News and the New York Times predicts an even larger spread of 14. The Huffington Post reports that the probability that Abbott will win next week is 95.6 percent. With this comfortable a lead, I think it can be fairly assumed that Attorney General Greg Abbott will be the next governor of Texas. Now, I am not writing this article to gloat about poll numbers and bash Democrats, entirely. I simply want to point out predictions and realities of politics in Texas and in the country briefly.

A little over a year ago, Wendy Davis acquired the spotlight in Texas politics. She filibustered a bill brought to the floor that would place certain standards on facilities providing abortions and make abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal. Democrats saw the praise she was receiving from their supporters and decided that Davis could be the one to take the governor’s office as Perry exited. To follow this dream, a political action committee known as “Battleground Texas,” created to take up the mantle of Texas Democratic politics, embraced Davis as its cause célèbre. The goal of this organization was straightforward: “Turn Texas Blue.” At stake: 38 electoral votes and thus, a secure Democratic presidential dynasty. Millions of dollars were funneled into Texas Democratic campaigns across the state in order to facilitate a political revolution. 

Nevertheless, Davis maintained incredible support from Democrats and created the most excitement. Now it appears that she will lose by double-digit points. I listened to hype about Davis last year, and I now see the results and I wonder what the feeling is among Democrats now. These types of situations are not new to the party. Democratic politicians and strategists can talk the talk and get their constituents fired up, but all too often, they fail to walk the walk.

I will never forget an example of this that I recognized during my freshman year at UT. At the end of my UGS class one day, my professor ended his lecture early to talk about an “important” current event. He spoke of a new movement that was rising in the country. This organized movement, he predicted, would end political corruption and raise taxes on the rich, ending income inequality. He did not tell the class the name of the protest movement but told us to be prepared for a revolutionary change. 

It was later discovered in a discussion session for the class that the movement was called “Occupy Wall Street.” In retrospect, the professor’s words are laughable to say the least. Occupy Wall Street gained recognition for their talk about the 99 percent versus the 1 percent, but it quickly went downhill from there. Some Occupy “camps” were reported to have issues with drugs, rape and assault. What started as a movement that would radically change politics, turned out to be the biggest joke of the decade.

It seems that liberal rhetoric is always outlandish and hyped as the key to a utopian society. When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, some people said he would be the one to end political corruption, turn around the economy, lower the government’s spending, generate peace around the world and have the most transparent administration. Again, as time has passed, we are able to see the correlation between these predictions and what actually occurred. Regardless of how you grade his presidency, I think we can easily say it has greatly fallen short of what it was predicted to be. 

I understand that promising much more than you will deliver is unfortunately the nature of politics. However, I feel that Democrats tend to inflate this trend. Is this a good strategy? How does it affect their constituents? Perhaps the complete strategy is to fill the void of deliverables with more grandiose promises. With respect to the governor’s race poll numbers, Democrats may not be too upset with the results. You can’t take Texas overnight. It will be a long and difficult process. Considering the poor execution of Davis’ campaign, a double-digit loss might be encouraging as the Democrats look toward the future. On the same note, Republicans should not be without concern. Every election is a battle, and contentment is a party’s worst enemy.

Olsen is a finance senior from Argyle.