by Allen CliftonTrying to follow politics can be overwhelming at times, especially during presidential elections when there’s almost no “break” from the moment the first candidate announces they’re running for president to election day itself. Then when you factor in the sheer number of presidential candidates we have this election cycle (especially on the Republican side), at times it does seem more like a sad circus than a presidential election. With all of this information floating out there, sometimes it’s hard to really put things into perspective. So I figured I’d gather some numbers from the non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact to highlight how often some of these candidates actually tell the truth. The reason I like to use Politifact is that they’re highly respected, non-partisan and their investigations are almost always thorough.
The site uses six metrics to determine the honesty of a statement: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants on Fire. For this article I’m going to considered True/Mostly True statements to be “honest,” Mostly False/False/Pants on Fire are “dishonest,” and I’ll ignore Half True because those are often highly subjective and can go either way.
For the sake of time I’ve decided to stick to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Trump, Cruz, Walker and Jeb, as they’re the candidates who seem to top most polls. I would have included Carson, but he’s only had five comments fact-checked, which just wasn’t enough of a sample to include him in this article. So, let’s get started. You can check out any candidate’s full file by clicking on their name as well, if you’d like:
- Hillary Clinton: Honest: 51% Dishonest: 28%
- Bernie Sanders: Honest: 52% Dishonest: 28%
- Trump: Honest: 5% Dishonest: 79%
- Jeb: Honest: 51% Dishonest: 30%
- Cruz: Honest: 18% Dishonest: 68%
- Walker: Honest: 34% Dishonest: 48%
As for the rest, the numbers are about what I expected. Walker is a candidate whose campaign is essentially on life support at this point. To this day I’ve still never understood how he was considered a leading candidate to win the nomination. It seems the more national exposure he gets, the further down the polls he falls. As for Trump and Cruz, they’re two individuals who’ve proven time and time again that they couldn’t care less about whether or not the gibberish that spews from their mouths is actually true – just as long as it’s what they think conservative voters want to hear. But it does say something about the Republican party, and conservative voters in general, that their leading presidential candidate has basically skyrocketed to the top of the polls – despite the fact that nearly everything out of his mouth has been a flat-out lie.