AP Fact Check: Yeah, A Bunch of Democrats' Standard Attack Lines Just Aren't True

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Posted: Jul 30, 2019 1:55 PM
AP Fact Check: Yeah, A Bunch of Democrats' Standard Attack Lines Just Aren't True

Ahead of the next round of Democratic debates (tonight and tomorrow), the Associated Press has preemptively fact-checked a number of claims and assertions the party's presidential field is likely to advance on stage.  On a series of issues, Democrats are employing misleading, unfair, or false arguments to make their political points.  Here is a handful of the ways in which the AP called them out, starting with the endlessly-repeated "kids in cages" line on the border crisis:

By Buttigieg’s standard, the Democratic Party has also lost its claim to invoke religion — because the “cages” were built and used by the Obama administration. Harris, a California senator, calls them a human rights abuse, but, like other Democrats, solely blames Trump. The facilities are sectioned-off, chain-link indoor pens where children who come to the border without adults or who are separated from adults in detention are temporarily housed. The children are divided by age and sex. A year ago, Associated Press photographs showing young people in such enclosures were misrepresented online as depicting child detentions by Trump and denounced by some Democrats and activists as illustrating Trump’s cruelty. In fact, the photos were taken in 2014 during the Obama administration.

Joe Biden should obviously be pressed on this, as should every Democrat whose selective outrage suddenly clicked 'on' circa 2017. "Many Democrats continue to exploit the imagery of “babies in cages” — as Harris put it — without acknowledging Obama used the facilities, too. His administration built the McAllen, Texas, center with chain-link holding areas in 2014," the fact check goes on, calling this line of attack "one of the most persistent distortions by the 2020 Democrats." Next, the AP questions Bernie Sanders' assertion that so-called 'Medicare for All' would reduce national spending on healthcare. The report calls that claim unclear, citing a nonpartisan study (beyond this one) finding that the Vermont socialist's single-payer plan "would do the opposite of what Sanders is promising." On the economy, the AP tackles Kamala Harris' AOC-style talking point that unemployment is artificially low because Americans are working multiple jobs. Wrong:

Most Americans, by far, only work one job, and the numbers who juggle more than one have declined over a quarter century. In the mid-1990s, the percentage of workers holding multiple jobs peaked at 6.5%. The rate dropped significantly , even through the Great Recession, and has been hovering for a nearly a decade at about 5% or a little lower. In the latest monthly figures , from June, 5.2% of workers were holding more than one job. Hispanic and Asian workers are consistently less likely than white and black workers to be holding multiple jobs. Women are more likely to be doing so than men, though the gap narrowed slightly during Trump’s first year.

This barely scratches the surface, but it's a worthwhile effort of debunking some of the canned critiques voters have heard, and will continue to hear. Elsewhere, President Obama's former chief of staff is issuing a warning to his party over the extreme ideological shift that may be conducive to competing in the 'Twitter primary,' but risks turning off many winnable voters. From Rahm Emanuel's Medium post:

There’s a reason Trump gleefully tweeted “That’s the end of that race!” during the first debate: Too often, you succumbed to chasing plaudits on Twitter, which closed the door on swing voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio...This time, don’t fall into the traps that had many of us shaking our heads during the debates in Miami. Before our party promises health care coverage to undocumented immigrants — a position not even Ted Kennedy took...

He writes to the 2020 field, "when you’re looking into the camera at the coming debate, imagine you’re speaking to a voter in Grand Rapids or Green Bay who holds two core beliefs in her head: that the economy is OK — not bad — and that Trump’s presidency is worse than bad. Showing that you understand those two points will yield electoral gold."  Question for Rahm: How does praising Al Sharpton -- this man -- as a civil rights icon and racial hero factor into the whole "winning independents" model?  That's what Kamala Harris, Liz Warren, and the frontrunner "moderate" have all done thus far: