Each of us understand instinctively the need to keep our promises. Proverbs 25:14 reads, “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.”

Most of us believe promises shouldn’t be made if they aren’t going to be kept. And, yet, we allow politicians to make promise after promise which they know they will never keep. Worse, we elect them knowing they won’t keep those promises, and then we reward them with re-election!

Frankly, I’m losing track of how many times conservative legislators have told citizen-activists to “stand down” on an important point of principle because of a super-special, secret backroom deal has been made for future action on bigger issues… only for that action to never materialize.

Too many politicians want credit for making a deal, without regard to whether or not anything was actually delivered as a result. 

This is the bigger problem in modern politics for Republicans than Democrats. Let’s be candid: Democrats tend to deliver on their promise, or at least fight visibly for them. Higher taxes, more government, new regulations… they either deliver them, or they fight for them.

The Democrats’ promises of yesterday have become the policies of today, and as expected misery and malaise is on the rise.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans also make big promises. For more than 20 years, as an example, Texas’ Republican political class has promised to deliver on real property tax relief. It’s an issue Republican and Democrat voters alike want addressed. And. yet, in these 20-plus years of Republican domination in Texas, property taxes are higher than ever.

We keep being told “next time.” We keep being told to trust that obscure actions arising from backroom deals have resulted in the taxes today not being as onerous as they would have been.

If you believe all that, remind me to tell you about the ocean-front property I am selling outside Amarillo…

We’ve reached the point that Republican promises to attack major issues are treated with an eye-roll and chuckle – even from the party faithful. Voters have lowered their expectations to the point of hoping Republicans will temporarily slow the advance of leftist policies or stall implementation of the Democrats’ plans.

Mediocre defense, hopeless offense.

This must change. Republicans must start turning their campaign promises into governing reality. They need to stop spinning and start doing. Republicans must be something more than a speed bump on the road to serfdom.

With the White House and Congress aligned in fierce opposition to American exceptionalism, the time has never been better for Republicans to prove that the promises made will be promise kept without equivocation, without apology, and without delay.

Republicans can start in the states, like Texas, where Republicans hold majorities and begin delivering today – not tomorrow – on their promises to push back against federal mandates. Voters in those states, especially in Texas, need to stop rewarding Republicans for simply not being Democrats. We need something more, something better.

It’s not enough to make the right promises, the future of the republic requires that each of us – voters and politicians alike – will be promise keepers.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."