"Actions have consequences” is an ancient truism, very obvious and not attributed to any particular speaker.
“Ideas have consequences” is the title of a 1948 book by philosopher Richard M. Weaver (1910-1983). Weaver believed that Western civilization was in decline.
“Elections have consequences” is a favorite saying of Democratic politician Richard Andrew “Dick” Gephardt. Gephardt said the phrase in December 1987, while campaigning in Iowa. Many other politicians (both Democrat and Republican) have used the “elections have consequences” phrase, especially after presidential elections and when a new political party assumes power.
A related phrase from the 1990s is “taxes have consequences.” The sayings “Stolen elections have consequences” and “Elections have consequences and stolen elections have serious consequences” became popular in the 2010s, and especially after the 2020 election of U.S. President Joe Biden.
Wikipedia: Ideas Have Consequences
Ideas Have Consequences is a philosophical work by Richard M. Weaver, published in 1948. The book is largely comprised of a treatise on the deleterious effects that the doctrine of nominalism has had on Western Civilization since it gained prominence in the High Middle Ages, followed by a prescription of a course of action through which Weaver believes the West might be rescued from its decline.
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Richard M. Weaver
U.S. philosopher, 1910-1963
“Ideas Have Consequences.”
Title of book (1948)
Wikipedia: Dick Gephardt
Richard Andrew “Dick” Gephardt (born January 31, 1941) is a former prominent American politician of the Democratic Party. Gephardt served as a U.S. Representative from Missouri from January 3, 1977, until January 3, 2005, serving as House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995, and as Minority Leader from 1995 to 2003. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 1988 and 2004. Gephardt was mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee in 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Since his retirement from politics, he has been working as a senior counsel at the global law firm DLA Piper and is also an active consultant for Goldman Sachs.
He was Democratic committeeman for the 14th ward in St. Louis between 1968 and 1971, moving up to 14th ward alderman 1971–1976, as part of a group of young aldermen known informally as “The Young Turks.” In 1976, he was elected to Congress from the St. Louis-based 3rd District, succeeding 24-year incumbent Leonor Sullivan. He was elected 13 more times, opting not to run for reelection in 2004.
Gephardt was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1988 presidential election. Gephardt ran hard and early in 1987/88 and finally started moving ahead in Iowa after running the “Hyundai ad” that criticized what he thought were unfair trade barriers by Korea and Japan. Gephardt won the Iowa caucuses and South Dakota primary in February, but ran out of money and dropped out after losing badly in the March “Super Tuesday” primaries, when he won only the Missouri primary. An ad aired by the campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis focused on Gephardt’s “flip-flopping” voting record, and showed a Gephardt look-alike doing forward and backward flips for the camera. Many felt that the ad killed any chance Gephardt had of winning the nomination. He dropped out after winning only 13% in the Michigan caucus, despite support from the United Auto Workers. Dukakis did consider picking Gephardt to be his running mate, but he instead chose Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen.
9 December 1987, Boston (MA) Globe, “Third in Iowa polls, Gephardt keeps up fight” by Chris Black:
WATERLOO, Iowa—The tiny Cessna carrying Rep. Richard A. Gephardt was forced to abort a flight one day last week when a manfunctioning alternator knocked out radio and electrical service.
“In America,” he (Gephardt—ed.) told students at Luther College in Decorah, “elections have consequences. If you voted for Ronald Reagan, you voted against your student loans.”
New York (NY) Times
THE LURE OF THE POLITICAL ROAD
By JOHN HOMANS
Published: March 13, 1988
Steve Murphy, the Gephardt organizer, proudly calls himself a child of the 60’s, a member of the generation that was going to change the world.
In 1976, he joined Jimmy Carter’s campaign as a paid field organizer, corraling votes in the South and the Middle West, sacrificing the minuscule but concrete increments of change that community organizing can produce for the gamble that his man would get to the White House. He loved it. The results were measurable. ‘’Elections have consequences,’’ said Murphy.
An Even Better Place:
America in the 21st Century
By Richard Andrew Gephardt
Published by PublicAffairs
Elections Have Consequences
Elections have consequences—it’s a favorite saying of mine. Oddly, many Americans don’t seem to believe it. They think—at least according to the pollsters—that it doesn’t matter which party controls the Congress or whom we elect to the presidency or any other office.
Scott Rosenberg’s Wordyard
Friday, July 22nd, 2005
The buzzphrase-du-jour in the right side of the national dialogue these days seems to be “Elections have consequences.” These words are brandished in the general direction of Democrats and liberals who have the temerity to ask questions about President Bush’s choice to replace Sandra O’Connor on the Supreme Court. The implication is that, having re-elected President Bush in 2004, the American people — even the 59 million (48 percent, for 252 of 270 electoral votes) who voted for the other guy — should now return to their homes, shut up, and let the Republicans have everything they demand.
The Least Examined Branch:
The Role of Legislatures in the Constitutional State
By Richard W. Bauman and Tsvi Kahana
Published by Cambridge University Press
This idea has been captured most recently by Sen.John McCain’s pithy comment that “elections have consequences,” a comment meant to support the prerogative of a Republican president and Republican Senate to choose a more conservative Supreme Court Justice, based on the outcome of the 2004 elections.
American Religious Democracy:
Coming to Terms with the End of Secular Politics
By Bruce Ledewitz
Published by Greenwood Publishing Group
As Republican Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania once said, “elections have consequences.”
E-Mails to SMS
Sunday, January 25, 2009
President Obama to GOP: “I won.”
With the simple declarative sentence, “I won,” President Barack Obama left no doubt who is now in charge of the show in Washington D.C. Elections have consequences was a remark made by John McCain during a debate in October of 2008. In a recent search on Westlaw the earliest record of this remark was in 1987 by Rep. Dick Gephart who said at a campaign stop at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa “In America, elections have consequences. If you voted for Ronald Reagan, you voted against your student loans. When you vote, you are not just voting for a candidate or a smile or a television commercial. You are voting for policies that affect your life. I’m not important. What is important is that you get involved. Get out and fight for somebody. Get involved in this election.”
“Elections have consequences” is phrase that has been batted back and forth - used by Phil Gramm in 1995 in response to a question about then-President Clinton’s nominee for the Supreme Court. It was most famously uttered in recent memory by Senator Barbara Boxer who schooled Jim Inhofe on the ways of the Senate at a hearing with former Vice President Al Gore. No matter who says these unremarkable words - they are no doubt true enough. A win is a win, to the winner go the spoils - my only problem with President Obama’s comment is the insertion of the pronoun “I” rather then sticking with his heretofore used “we.”
New York City • Government/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Thursday, January 29, 2009 • Permalink