Should we Expect Politicians to be Completely Truthful?

Should we Expect Politicians to be Completely Truthful?


It is not strange to affirm that nearly all politicians succeed through deception. What is astonishing is that they continue to tell a given lie time after time and keep thriving (Lee, 2010). What is the reason behind the public not evaluating the words and actions of politicians to reveal their dishonesty? It is hard to find a campaign time that politicians are not making promises of developing the economy through reduction of such things as wastage and fraud or helping the less privileged through budgetary increment and creation of favorable programs. Moreover, in most instances politicians promise to ensure energy sufficiency, block the course of unlawful immigration through managing the boundaries, and decrease gun violence through the adoption of strong control actions and other comparable notions. Politicians are definitely not stupid individuals. One thing that they understand clearly is hunting for votes through lying to the public (Lupia, 2015). Therefore, if politicians continually repeat assertions that are deceptive, it has to be because they benefit from such actions. People should not anticipate politicians to be wholly truthful.

Politics is All about Lies

The basis as to why politicians deceive is that the public does not want to hear the reality (Grillo, 2016). The public wants to listen to what they desire to hear. In a case where two candidates are contesting for one public seat, and one of them shares the truth and  the other deceives the public, the one who narrates to the public what they want to listen obtains their votes. Therefore, for one to win a public seat, he/she must adhere to what the public wants to hear. This can be dated back to 1988 during presidential elections in the US where Bush told the public, “Read my lips, no new taxes.” It is likely that Bush could defend himself with the affirmation that the public misunderstood him as he was stating, “know new taxes.”

Bush had to deceive because his counterpart aspirant, Dukakas, had said that for an inverse in the Reagan deficit, an increment in tax had to be put in place. This is not what the public desired to hear, the citizens wanted to be cheated, and thus Bush ended up winning the election. Had it that Bush narrated the fact; he would have lost the election to somebody who would have defrauded the public. In that electoral year, the public did not want to hear the Reagan debt was genuine and had to be compensated. In 1992, which was the next electoral year, the condition had changed (Roemer, 2011). The deficit was rising exponentially while Bush had no plan. “Read my lips” was not able to work again. In that year the electorates were prepared for the truth concerning the deficit and needed someone with a platform on how to fix it.


Clinton narrated the truth, and his plan had an advantage. Clinton contested on the subject of fixing the thriftiness and taking monetary liability. Were it that Clinton contested in 1988 and narrated the fact, he would have lost and thus by 1992 the truth worked. As from 1992 the American citizens always desired to hear the facts. Clinton had rotated the arrears around while the public was compensated for having faced the rigid facts of dealing with thriftiness. If Clinton did not keep his pledge, he would not have had an opportunity in 1996 as the Public trusted him after meeting his promises. In 1996 elections, people did not want to listen to deceptions concerning the economy. Nevertheless, citizens look forward to listening to the affairs that please them, and thus politicians who come along cheating people by telling them what they want to hear end up winning their votes, while the economy remains stagnant and reforms are not witnessed (Dermody, Hanmer-Lloyd, & Scullion, 2010).

The deceptions that public acknowledge from politicians right now are frauds that are seen as suitable since that is what citizens want to hear. Possibly, nationals consider cheating as necessary. The ultimate reason as to why people allow politicians to cheat them is that voters mind about their well being. In a situation where people lie above white lies, a lot of time is spent in making efforts to defend what they are expressing (Fielding, Head, Laffan, Western, & Hoegh-Guldberg, 2012). It looks like politicians were trained to lie to the public since they do not want people who do tell them the fact. Citizens tend to be dishonest to themselves; this comes because of a corrupt vote; this is whereby politicians bribe voters for them to be elected. Thus citizens’ greed for material and wealth will end up tolerating dishonesty in politics. This ends up leaving out politicians with facts and who can bring positive impacts to the nation. This occurs when people desire to earn something and thus people will deceive just a little as long as it appears to be legit (Dobson, 2012). Politicians cheat with no guilt; however, in small and developing democratic states, there is a high concentration of impunity, a high need to win at all cost is required while taking advantage of the docility of the voters.

Most politicians are proud; they see themselves as greatly important and special (Jottier, Ashworth, & Heyndels, 2012). They require high regard and are unfair thus at any cost they cannot be truthful. Most politicians tend to think that they are at all times right, and if not so they are too influential to endure the consequences. There are circumstances that seem necessary for a politician to deceive the voters if the citizens’ interest is not to be solemnly jeopardized. The fact of this case occurred when Nixon, a former US President, was almost to inflict salaries and prices controls in line with reducing spiraling inflation by 1973. On the evening towards the day of giving his emergency directive that would immobilize prices and salaries, he was inquired by a journalist if he was planning to enforce such restraints. In this case, a ‘yes’ answer could have roused the rage of price increase causing a major increase in inflation, which could have been contrary to his policies. If he had failed to comment, everyone could have concluded that he was hiding something, and thus he answered, ‘no.’

President Nixon may be condemned for falsely assuring the people regarding sincerity in government the moment he embarked on swiftly seeking to enforce the restraints he had promised not to. It might appear as if democracy may fail to carry on with continued public trickery. Nonetheless, one has to take into consideration that deception by politicians such as President Nixon, are valid instances of the necessity to lie with the purpose of winning the electorate and emerging victorious in elections. On this note, it is apparent that Nixon was somewhat practiced in deception when necessary (Corbett & Wood, 2013). The majority of analysts have endorsed Nixon’s deceptive tactics regarding pricing restriction concerns since it was obviously vital and most people can comprehend the motives behind its necessity (Van den Brink, 2012).

People should not expect politicians to tell the truth (Hatier, 2012). This is because it is evident that for politicians to uphold their supremacy, they have to do everything possible to convince people that they have the best solution to the existing problems. They may tell the voters the disappointing reality that harmonizing the budget necessitates a lengthy period and demands considerable reductions in some services or tax increment, which would make them lose votes (Weigend, 2010). On the other hand, politicians may decide to deceive the public that balancing the budget will occur swiftly when they win the elections since they will address the concerns of fraud, wastage, and abuse with no delay, which would entice many voters. Why is it that the politicians who keep telling lies to win? Before the older electorates come questioning the period it will take the politicians to meet their promises, a huge number of new voters will be receiving the lie for the first time. Therefore, politicians tell the same lie severally because they have to entice the voters for them to retain their political strength.



People Should Expect Lies from Politicians

For a long time across the globe, the impunity and lies of politicians were left inadequately challenged (O’Neill, 2013). Although journalists and some civil societies issued strong criticism against such deception and impunity, there was no considerable step taken, even by the voters. In a number of instances, the concerns of lying and sometimes fraud have received major backing, with parts of the nation standing with their kinsman. Due to escalating cases of deception from politicians, the poor people in the society has chosen to cling to fortune, minding much regarding what they will eat than the work or failure of those who hold political offices (Forsythe, 2011). The situation in some nations is so bad that some voters find the crumbs dropped by politicians as manna from heaven. The combination of such aspects offers politicians the authority to perfect their lies. If politicians were to be held liable to every promise they make or every word they utter, they would become more cautious with their actions and utterances.

Studies have found that the lies that politicians make are mainly caused by the desperation to win or remain in office (Bawn et al., 2012). On this note, it has been established that politicians explain their deception and distortions through the application of a form of gaming practice. Similar to a situation where a soccer player will fall and yell to feign a foul play, politicians embark on lies to appear the most suitable for the task; they are convinced that the end validates the approach (Galston, 2010). A wide pool of studies has shown that politicians are aware that their supporters have confidence in them, irrespective of the occurrence of indisputable proof in contrast. Politicians and their ardent supporters reside in a compartment where every person appears blindfolded. In this regard, there seems to be a resistant membrane which bars acceptance of any contrary information. On this note, the details in the deceptive messages of the politicians are often red meat for part of their supporters who are just happy to have it as long as the politician holds power or retains political dominance.

In accordance with many researchers, the majority of people expect politicians to be completely truthful, which should not be the case (Hobolt, Tilley, & Wittrock, 2013). In this regard, such individuals take it that any other contestant presenting facts is the one who is lying and should not be voted for. This is an issue usually taken advantage of by politicians to build a huge number of sycophants. It is widely known that truth hurts and everyone desires hearing sweet words and not ones that threaten their welfare, convictions, or result to their discomfort. It is absolutely better for any politician to say the things that will make the voters develop a sense of comfort. No key politician will choose to convey bad news if there is the alternative of getting away with fairy stories that will earn them more votes (Innerarity, 2013).

One of the concerns of human faults that have a tendency of promoting deception by politicians is the trusting prejudice (Forrester, 2012). The voters tend to expect politicians to be wholly truthful. The default psychological aspect of people is to believe instead of question (except for the law enforcement officers or other experts that can tell a professional liar). This makes a huge percentage of individuals in any nation an easy target for politicians. Cognitive laziness also encourages politicians’ lies. When people hear affirmation by politicians, they mostly do not (and cannot choose to, especially when supporting such a politician) take part in physical or psychological endeavors to assess facts. Coupled with the trusting prejudice, people have the cognitive laziness, which makes them convinced that if the politician uttered it, then it has to be the truth. Overconfident lying also blinds the voters from distinguishing lies. In politics, the more outlandish or bold to present lies a politician is, the more probable it is for people to get convinced that he/she is trustworthy. Although politicians take a poor position on the order of trustworthiness, when political aspects and information are taken into consideration, people have a tendency of believing them. It appears crazy for people to keep believing the lies from politicians and voters should not expect them to be completely truthful (Jensen, Li, & Rahman, 2010).


It is not weird to affirm that nearly all politicians thrive through dishonesty. What is surprising is that they persist to tell a given lie time after time and keep flourishing. If politicians constantly repeat assertions that are deceiving, it has to be because they profit from such actions. People should not expect politicians to be entirely honest. They may tell the electorates the disappointing certainty that harmonizing the budget necessitates a prolonged period and demands extensive reductions in some services or tax increment, which would destroy their reputation and cause them to lose votes. Conversely, politicians may choose to mislead the public that balancing the budget will happen quickly when they win the elections since they will tackle the issues of scam, wastage, and abuse with no setback, which would lure many voters. It is certainly crazy for people to keep believing the lies from politicians while they should not anticipate them to be entirely truthful.


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