Political rhetoric · Politics

Democratic Presidential Debates Claims vs. Debates

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, right, makes a point as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, listens during a Democratic presidential primary debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

On Thursday, February 11, 2016, US Presidential candidates Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders debated each other at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI). As usual, the candidates made certain claims which don’t match the facts. Here are a few.


Mrs. Clinton claimed that she was “very proud of the fact that [my campaign has] more than 750,000 donors, and the vast majority of them are giving small contributions.” In doing so, Mrs. Clinton attempted to deflect criticism that she is beholden to “big money interests” such as JP Morgan, Monsanto, etc., all of whom have donated significant sums to her campaign, either directly or indirectly (i.e., through PACs and SuperPACs). She was also attempting to align herself with Senator Sanders whose campaign has been financed mostly through small donors. However, records show that 72% of Senator Sanders’ fundraising consisted of donations of $200 or less, while those type of donations accounted for only 16% of Mrs. Clinton’s fundraising. While Mrs. Clinton further claimed that, because both she and Senator Sanders were funded by small donors, it set both of them apart from other candidates. Unfortunately for Mrs. Clinton, her percentage ofsmall donors is not substantially different from those of GOP contenders.

universal health care

Mrs. Clinton and Senator Sanders disagreed on the probable cost of Senator Sanders’ health care program. Senator Sanders claimed that his plan would save “the average middle-class family $5,000 a year.” Mrs. Clinton claimed that Senator Sanders’ numbers “don’t add up.” While more details are needed before a final assessment can be made, it is a fact that Senator Sanders’ number don’t, in fact, add up.

The Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan group, estimates that Senator Sanders’ plan will create a $3Tr hole over 10 years in the US budget since the proposed tax increases would only cover 75% of the costs. Of course, numerous assumptions are made as to the number of doctor and hospital visits, cost of pharmaceuticals and care, etc. It is interesting to note that the every other major country has universal health care and none have gone bankrupt.


As he did in an earlier debate, Senator Sanders exaggerated the rate of incarceration of African-American men claiming that each stood “a one-in-four chance of ending up in jail.” Unfortunately, that statistic is 13 years old and it is not a statistic at all, but rather a projection made 13 years ago by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that projected possible incarceration rates. In fact, the 2003 report both Senator Sanders quoted actually provides that 16.6% of adult African-American men have actually ever gone to prison, or 1 in 6. According to the Sentencing Project, that rate has actually since decreased. It is, however, a fact that African-American males continue to be imprisoned at a higher rate than any other ethnicity.


Mrs. Clinton made a pitch for President Obama’ supporters by claiming that Senator Sanders had penned “a foreword for a book that basically argued voters should have buyer’s remorse when it comes to President Obama’s leadership and legacy.” A stance with which Mrs. Clinton obviously disagrees. However, Senator Sanders never wrote such a foreword. Instead, Senator Sanders contributed a by-line to the back cover which reads: “Bill Press makes the case why, long after taking the oath of office, the next president of the United States must keep rallying the people who elected him or her on behalf of progressive causes. That is the only way real change will happen.” While the book, Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down, is critical of President Obama, Senator Sanders’ by-line neither mentioned the President nor criticized him.

climate change

Senator Sanders claimed that none of the GOP candidates “agree[] that climate change is real.” Some, if not most, of the GOP candidates deny that either global climate is changing or that, if it is, it is caused by human activities, or both. In fact, both Mr. Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have been blunt and dismissive of global climate change due to human activity. However, Governor Jeb Bush has written that “the climate is changing… I don’t think anybody can argue it’s not. Human activity has contributed to it.” Governor John Kasich has stated that: “[Climate change] isn’t popular to always say, but I believe there is a problem with climates — climate change in the atmosphere.”

Politically unbiased yours,



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