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How Can You Tell If a Politician is Corrupt?

Updated on October 17, 2011

It seems as though every time I turn the news on, there is talk about another politician doing something immoral or wrong like posting on Craigslist for sex or, lying at a Senate hearing. With all the bad news on the economy, foreign affairs, and corruption, it naturally leads one to beg the question, “Are all politicians corrupt?” The answer is most certainly, “no.” Or, is it?

Politicians are just like everyone else. They have friends and families they care for. They have mortgage payments and car payments. They wake up with work to do and live life just like any other human being. However, there are also many differences. Most of these differences have to do with having different experiences in life.

One thing we have to realize is that no politician has achieved their seat in office alone. They all had help and yes, that help includes votes but those votes came about by people backing them with money. Yes, money does make the world go ‘round and unless you want to live in a dictatorship, it is exactly what is necessary for any politician to be considered a contender. It is because of this funding that many politicians feel a sense of obligation to those that have backed them. This is referred to as “dance with the one that brung you.” It is this sense of responsibility or obligation that sometimes causes many people to turn away from their ideology, their ethics, the promises they previously made, and even their morals.

I believe most politicians are people who want to help the country. There are most certainly wonderful men and woman who are people of reputable character, who work hard, and do everything they can to help this country, in order for all of us to live prosperous lives. However, because of special interest groups and handlers, there are some politicians who simply have weak characters and they will often give in to the wants of others, making their constituents weary of their abilities. Then of course, there really are those politicians who are simply in it for the power. These people have been with us throughout history and have proven themselves to be ruthless and dangerous. It is more important then ever that we take a close look at ourselves and what we believe so that we are better able to spot the dirty politician that is trying to hurt us, rather than help us.

With all these different factors, how can you know who to trust? How can you tell if a politician is corrupt?

Truth be told, no one is perfect and politicians are far from perfect. Obviously, we are often led by our own ideologies, and in turn we trust the politicians who reflect how we feel and think about issues that concern the world but, this is never a good way to detect if someone is being a fraud. In fact, this can be quite deceiving because it is through the use of persuasion that many politicians have been able to fool so many people.

Here are a few things to consider when you are trying to determine when a politician is being dishonest. Most politicians will exhibit a few of these characteristics. You will want to look for those that are doing several of these things, all the time.

1. Never look at the letter behind a person’s name. If you are a Democrat and you see an R for Republican, do not assume they are bad anymore than you should assume the D is for being honest. As you will learn, corruption comes on both sides of the aisle and that holds true for Independents and other fringe parties as well. Party affiliation means nothing when it comes to dishonesty and corruption.

2. Is this person telling you what you want to hear or what you should hear? If the message is too “feel good” or too unrealistic, it probably is. Think about it for a moment. Be honest with yourself. What are they promising? Do they really have a great plan or is it pie-in-the-sky nonsense? Is it too complex, requiring too much overhaul? Are they willing to explain step-by-step how they plan on implementing their idea? If you find the plan to be too general or they are just telling you to go look at their website, this is a good indication that the person is being deceitful.

3. Are they getting too emotional? Emotions are how we relate with everything and it is also how we remember things. Think about your past and some memories you have. Everything you remember has a strong emotional tie to it and politicians know this. However, if all they are doing is trying to appeal to your emotions, without any sound logic or detailed information, then you know they are only interested in a seat for power, not for service.

4. Pay attention to how they are speaking. If you notice that someone is deliberately talking slow, and at a constant tone, this is a huge indicator that they are using a form of black ops hypnosis. This is something many corrupt politicians will use in order to “bring you under their spell.” It might sound crazy but, listen carefully for this next time you watch a politician on TV. You will be surprised at how many people do this. Now, do not get me wrong, many politicians do this for a variety of reasons but, again this is just one of many things to look for.

Honest people do not pay much attention to their rate of speed by which they are talking. In fact, many will talk fast so they can get the message they want to get out in the limited time frame they have. They want you to know everything and they will actually talk much faster than someone trying to avoid an answer or someone who is just too prepped.

There is nothing wrong with a great speaker but, this is not always the best indication that the person is honest. Look for direct answers. Remember too that politicians only know so much. Yes, theoretically they should know everything but, in reality, there are so many issues in the country and in the world, it is very hard for someone to be up-to-date on every issue and this is normal. If they sound like too much of a know-it-all, having a quick answer for everything, this can be an indication of dishonesty because, it is an implication that the questions were predetermined and prepared for.

5. Don’t worry too much about what they are wearing or what is in the background. This stuff is all calculated to make the politician look favorable. They all do this; so much of this can be overlooked when weighing your final decision.

6. Who are they in real life? If there is one thing the media has done, it has opened the doors wide open to whom politicians are in real life. Look at the character of a person. Is this a person who has their life in order? Or is this a person who has changed wives/husbands like the have changed their shoes? Does drama always seem to follow this person? Are there always rumors being whispered about this person and their past? Certainly we cannot believe everything we hear but, more often then not, good people who have their lives together and who have a good reputation, do not stir the rumor mills. People who are loved and respected generally will have a great working history and family. Remember too that most all people do have a past. This means nothing if the person has made a genuine change. Many people call this a pivot point, where a person stops on the dark road they are following and changes direction, leading a more positive lifestyle. It is up to you to determine if that change is genuine or not. This change is something that should be well demonstrated through actions.

For instance, if you are considering voting for someone who once had a nasty addiction to alcohol or drugs, they should be given time to display their turnaround. Did they seek professional treatment? Has it been years since they have touched alcohol or drugs? What made them quit in the first place? Was it a forced decision (court ordered), or one that they came to on their own accord? Someone who has chosen to change, sought professional help, and has proven to be clean for several years are all good signals that they really have changed.

7. Follow the money and look at their voting history. Take some time and research their voting record. Try and figure out if the person votes only with special interests or votes based on their honest, genuine beliefs. If a person is honest, they are voting based upon what they feel is right, along with considering the opinions of who they are representing. The person should also have demonstrated that they are not afraid to stand alone, to be in the minority, if they feel something is right. This means they might not listen to polls all the time. Just because the majority of people want something, does not mean it is okay or moral so, this is where you will have to do your own soul searching and determine what it is you know to be moral and if the politician you are looking at is equally moral. A politician should not ignore the people but, he/she should most certainly value the right choice and stand firm in their beliefs, rather than what might make them more popular for the next election cycle.

8. Is the politician willing to do interviews with most anyone on any network? If you see that a politician shuns a network or it is being reported that the politician is demanding too many prerequisites for an interview, this is a strong indicator that the person is lying and being manipulative. Honest people are not afraid of confrontation. They are willing and able to stand in front of people who disagree with them and try to make an honest, logical argument, debating in a professional manner.

Now, if a person is threatened in some way, then they might not be avoiding debate as much as they are avoiding problems. There is no reason for someone to go do an interview or a speech somewhere if there is clearly no interest in an open dialogue. Such an event would be a waste of time for both sides. You will need to use some common sense to determine if the politician is avoiding an interview because they are afraid of being confronted, or if they genuinely believe they will not be given a chance to speak or debate.

These tips should definitely help you differentiate the bad politicians from the good. Ultimately, you will have to go with your gut but, remember it really is up to you to take time to research things for yourself. In a world where the media can be so biased and slanted, it really is hard to trust anyone other then yourself. By making wise decisions, we can really change this country and remove the dishonest people who do not have good intentions. Having both Democrats and Republicans, or other people with different opinions help create checks and balances but this cannot be done unless we have honest people holding office. There are honest politicians. We just need to work harder at figuring out who they really are.


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    • The Scary Truth profile image

      The Scary Truth 

      7 years ago

      I have only met 1 uncorrupted, and he was in for 10 years and only a city councilor. You have a trick question, The perfect example is when one says, this goes against my better judgement, but this is what the people want. Then you will have a leader for the people.


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