Politics & Government

Which big promises does the next president fail to deliver?

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shakes hands with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Associated Press

By late Tuesday, we will know who is going to be the next president of the United States – barring another 2000 recount fiasco.

While we do not know what the next four years will hold, we do know Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump have over-promised. As a result, they’re sure to under-deliver.

In addition to failing to keep all their promises to voters, either candidate is likely to face an impeachment threat.

Clinton’s campaign promises

Free college: Clinton says she will make college affordable, aiming for free tuition at in-state, four-year public colleges and universities for families that make up to $125,000 a year. “It’s going to be difficult to do because higher education is paid for by states and state legislatures,” said Winthrop University political scientist Karen Kedrowski, adding that college costs are not the business of the federal government. Limiting tuition increases is practically impossible in public higher education, where colleges hike tuition as states cut funding, and not feasible at all at private colleges, Kedrowski said.

Raising the minimum wage: Clinton aims eventually to get to a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more than double the $7.25 minimum wage. That is a nonstarter for a GOP-controlled Congress, Kedrowski said. “A Republican Congress is not going to be that interested in raising the minimum wage when they have to answer to the business community.”

Trump’s campaign promises

That wall that Mexico will pay for: Trump has promised, over and over, that he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and Mexico will pay for it. That financing doesn’t make any sense, Kedrowski said. Trump’s argument that he is a very persuasive, very successful businessman and will use those skills to get his way also doesn’t translate to politics, the political scientist said. “I really just don’t see that happening.”

Ignoring the other branches of government: Trump has promised to fix the tax code, saying he has taken advantage of it and knows its loopholes. That ignores the fact that there is a Congress in place, and it is an independent branch of government, Kedrowski said. Trump also has said that he will see to it that Democrat Clinton goes to jail. But, Kedrowski notes, the president has no control over the judicial system. The rule of law includes understanding the limits of government, Kedrowski said.


“The ‘I-word’ is not out of the question for either candidate, depending on how certain things play out,” Kedrowski said.

Email investigations: If Clinton is elected, the most recent email investigation could find some malfeasance on her part dealing with classified material, which is possibly an impeachable offense, the political scientist said.

Overstep authority: Meanwhile, Trump has promised to do a number of things that would overstep his executive authority, including jailing Clinton, and other abuses of power related to the military, including ordering the children of terrorists to be killed. “If he’s elected president, he needs to be very careful and listen to his advisers,” Kedrowski said.

McLeod’s attendance record

State Rep. Mia McLeod’s attendance record in the S.C. House has become the focus of the S.C. Senate GOP Caucus’ efforts to flip a Democratic seat in the state Senate to the Republican Party.

Republican candidate Susan Brill held a press conference Thursday to double down on the claim that McLeod has been absent from her legislative duties. That claim also has been the subject of a campaign ad in the District 22 race in Northeast Richland County.

Brill’s campaign contends McLeod didn’t vote 61 times, meaning she was not present.

“It is overwhelming that she has missed more than half of the sessions of the Legislature,” Brill said during the news conference.

But, according to the S.C. House Clerk's Office, McLeod missed only one day in 2015 and one day in 2016, her campaign replied.

“At the end of the day, we have caught Susan Brill and the South Carolina Republican Caucus lying to the general public through false and misleading ads,” said McLeod spokesman Trav Robertson.

To support her claim, Brill cited McLeod’s attendance votes, which occur during the “roll call” period each day of the legislative session. During that time, lawmakers vote on the House’s electronic voting board to record that they are present. Those periods – the Buzz guesstimates they last 30 minutes or so daily – often include the acting House speaker urging notoriously late House members to come over from their Blatt Building offices and get started on state business.

McLeod is not the only House member to miss check-in.

During the 2016 session, an average of about 20 House members a day were not recorded as voting during the roll call. On two days, 41 of 124 House members did not vote. The smallest number of legislators not voting was six on two other days.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope