Politicians and the Value of Partial Results or “Less-Than-All-of-X”


Going into the new political season (Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress), it is important to know the value of partial results or “less-than-all-of-X”.

The Value of Partial Results

When a politician (Republican or Democrat) promises “X” and gets “less-than-all-of-X”, there is more political value in getting “less-than-all-of-X” than getting “all-of-X”.

First, constituents wanted “all-of-X”, but appreciate “less-than-all-of-X”,  because it is more than “no-X” or more than the previous “less-than-all-of-X”.

Second, constituents appreciate the politician who got them “less-than-all-of-X”.[Remember: constituents wanted “all-of-X”, but appreciate “less-than-all-of-X”, because it is more than no “X” or more than the previous “less-than-all-of-X”.]

Third, politicians and their constituents blame the other side for not getting “all-of-X”.

Fourth, it’s a great, ready-made campaign issue: Vote for me if you want “all-of-X”; and don’t vote for the other side … that’s why we don’t have “all-of-X.”

Fifth, if something goes wrong with “X”, well, the reason is simple: we didn’t get “all-of-X”.

Sixth, the anti-X coalition is satisfied with “less-than-all-of-X” because it is not “all-of-X”.


In Texas, the open-enrollment charter school movement is an example of the political value of “less-than-all-of-X” … all six values fit it well.

An example of the political problems that come with “all-of-X” is the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). One political side got “all-of’-X” – and all of the political headaches.


Truth be known, politicians favor “less-than-all-of-X” more than all of “X”.

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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