How else would they get elected? Every election campaign I have ever followed consists of candidates promising the moon to their constituency even when ‘the moon’ is any or all of impossible, idiotic, insane, or illegal. And many, many voters lap it up, generally without any form of second thought – sober or otherwise.
Examples abound. A few years ago provincial candidates in Ontario promised to reduce auto insurance premiums by 15%, even though they had no control over the insurance industry other than to threaten to remove their license to operate in the province. This had the entirely predictable result of companies reducing basic coverage by a significant amount allowing them to offer a skinny policy at a 15% reduction. If you wanted to bump it up to the coverage you had before, you could, but it would cost much more than the 15% ‘saving’. So the voters voted, the consumer lost, the politicians checked off another “promise kept”, and the people wondered what the hell happened.
Stephen Harper, our last Prime Minister, famously said on the campaign trail that a certain type of investment vehicle (Income Trusts) favoured by seniors for income generating purposes were a “sacred trust” and would never be touched, in spite of rumours to the contrary. Within weeks of being elected he banned them, driving tens of billions of dollars out of pension funds (both personal and public) overnight. He remained unapologetic in spite of economic evidence that it was a disastrous assault on Canada’s economy and seniors’ incomes for years afterwards. People believed him and then wondered what the hell happened to their pensions.
A border wall will be built and paid for by Mexico. Sounds like a great idea; I’ll vote for that guy. But it can never happen. Not only is the basic premise stupid (Mexico will pay to cut itself off from it’s largest market? Yeah, right.) it’s quite possibly illegal as well. So if Mr. Comb-over should, by some freak of nature, find himself in the White House, the people who put him there expecting the Great Wall of Mexico to be erected in the next 4 years will be left wondering what the hell happened.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s municipal, state/provincial or federal, the electorate seems unwilling or unable to actually consider what is being promised in the context of what is possible. So we keep electing representatives who, through the very nature of their campaigns, have proven themselves to be unethical and immoral, willing to lie through their teeth if it means one more vote.
And they do it because we reward them for it.