Fact-checking the debate

While I gave my impressions of last night’s debate, I did not evaluate the truth of the statements made by the candidates. This is partly because ‘truth’ and ‘fact’ seem to have become quaint outdated concepts that do not matter anymore within the Republican party and partly because other people usually do a much more thorough job.

Sarah K Burris has fact-checked the debate and provides a good rundown of the 19 lies and most cringe-inducing moments. She begins:

Thursday’s debate was an embarrassment for the Republican Party. If anything, the winners last night were Democrats everywhere. The candidates looked like amateurs. They seemed petty and childish, and certainly not ready for prime time. Ted Cruz needed to come out strong and seem reasonable to combat Donald Trump’s attacks. Trump contrasted with his previous debates by toning down his wild drama queen schtick, and looked a little more like a politician and less like a reality show star. Why people like Ben Carson and Chris Christie are still on the stage is beyond me, but there they were.

After listing all the outrageous things that were said, she concludes:

It’s unclear whether these folks are flat-out lying or if they’re willingly trying to mislead Americans. This was a substantive policy debate and the people who had the mental capacity to follow along tonight likely already know who they are voting for and can tell you why with specifics. The only thing that seemed to come out of Thursday’s debate is more of this petty arguing among themselves and the attempt to roast Hillary Clinton. What a waste of time and energy.

Meanwhile Jesse Berney says that Donald Trump’s response to Ted Cruz’s ugly attack on ‘New York values’ was a rare moment when Trump lifted himself out of the gutter and showed a basic human decency.

Conservatives sure do hate New York City. They hate the New York Times. They hate the liberal politicians. But most of all, they hate those damn New York values. As Ted Cruz said during last night’s Republican presidential debate, “everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, focused around money and the media.”

When Cruz sneers at “values in New York City,” he’s decrying modernity itself. He’s shaking his fist at progress.

And yet Thursday night, for the first time in the entire campaign, Trump sounded like a human being, defending the city he grew up in, the city that gave him fortune and fame.

“When the World Trade Center came down,” he said pointedly to Cruz, “I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York.” He veered off into a standard Trump digression, but miraculously brought it back, continuing, “And we rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New York and loved New Yorkers. And I have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that Ted made.”

And for one amazing moment, Donald Trump was right — and even decent. What Cruz had said was deeply insulting. He went after “money and the media” and “New York values,” a dog whistle so loud he might as well have called the city “Hymietown.” New York deserved a defense and somehow, Trump delivered one.

Mark Silk also thinks that Cruz’s definition of New York values’ as “socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media” is code for saying “New York=Jewish”.

I think Cruz did not expect Trump to use the 9/11 totem and that was why he was seemingly nonplussed. The reviews for Cruz on this exchange have not been good and this newspaper headline kind of summed it up as far as New Yorkers were concerned.

NY Post on Cruz


  1. doublereed says

    I don’t think anyone expected him to use 9/11 that way, but it was no doubt effective. Actually, it’s one of the few times I thought bringing up 9/11 was brought up in a political conversation and it wasn’t completely irrelevant. Ted Cruz was absolutely suggesting that New York wasn’t Real America. So pointing out how incredibly unpatriotic and bigoted that is seems pretty damn relevant.

    Although I have to say I thought it was ridiculous when Trump was like “He just insulted a whole lot of people” as if Trump hasn’t been doing that even more egregiously.

  2. raven says

    Cruz missed a huge opportunity. He should have pointed out that the WTC 9/11 was…a false flag operation. And blamed it on the Illuminati or something.

    Trump missed one too. Ted Cruz’s wife works for Goldman Sachs, a NY Wall Street company if there ever was one.

  3. WhiteHatLurker says

    Cruz tried to argue that if being born to a non-citizen was an issue, even Donald Trump wouldn’t be eligible. “Yes I would,” Trump said — and he’s right.

    Um, no. Trump would not be eligible, if the criterion was that both of the candidate’s parents were born in the U.S. (Trump’s mother was born elsewhere.) Of course, this is a straw argument -- the Americans only want people born on their turf to run for president. (Which is a bogus rule.)

    As for the New York Daily’s comment, we’re not taking Cruz back. He can stay in Texas.

  4. lorn says

    It is a fact that a lot of the right/left divide comes down to urban versus rural cultures and lifestyles.

    The funny thing is that NYC may be one of the better models of how to live for the vast majority of humans in the future. On a per capita basis residents in NYC use less energy, produce less trash, use water more efficiently, are more productive and are healthier than your typical rural populations. NYC is also far more racially, religiously, ethically, and sexually diverse than most rural areas.

    It is the rural and suburban areas that are economic, energy, resource, productivity, and social drains.

    So much of the left/right divide comes down to rural versus urban context. A good example is guns: In a rural setting you might hunt, the law might be more than a half-hour away, you might have livestock that needs protecting from predators and occasionally might need to be put down. The gun is a tool that most homesteads feel justified in keeping around.

    A gun in the urban context is a potentially indiscriminate destructive device whose only reason for existence is to kill people. A bullet can travel for over a mile and plow through several walls before coming safely to rest. Anyone, innocent or not, involved or not, who happens to be along that path is at risk of injury or death. On the other hand, in certain, hopefully rare, situations a gun could be necessary to prevent further violence. But guns are always dangerous and need to be handled very carefully by people who are trained and practiced.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    It’s unclear whether these folks are flat-out lying or if they’re willingly trying to mislead Americans.

    The distinction between these two categories is what’s unclear to me.

    And she left out the possibility of so-nuts-they-believe-what-they-say…

  6. StevoR says

    Mark Silk also thinks that Cruz’s definition of New York values’ as “socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media” is code for saying “New York=Jewish”.

    I think for a lot of their “base” that’s definitely true. I’d also add that New York of course has a lot more than just Jewish leaders and people in it and these as the U2 song sings make it the world famous and amazing place that it is :


    As well as the quintessential example of the US “melting pot” of immigrants making themselves new and better lives and the world a better place by so doing.

    Loved the newspaper cover there. Perfectly nailed it.

    I also loved that response from Trump although I cannot stand the man and dread and find utterly repellent the thought of him ever becoming POTUS or having any real power.

    I think Cruz did not expect Trump to use the 9/11 totem and that was why he was seemingly nonplussed.

    Yet its such an obvious riposte that its seems hard to see how it couldn’t have been anticipated. Some commenters reckon Cruz is a smart man -- I think this is part of the evidence showing otherwise.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    New York deserved a defense and somehow, Trump delivered one

    Why is this person still acting all surprised when Trump is able to pivot on a sixpence and deliver a humiliating, devastating smackdown to a political opponent? That’s his entire schtick. He’s a genius at it. “Somehow”? As though for the last six months Trumps numbers have been surging despite his inarticulacy. As though deriding Bush as “low energy” and Carly Fiorina as having “that face” weren’t carefully calculated and expertly delivered bon mots (mal mots? whatever).

    The only difference here was the Cruz was already firing the shotgun into his own face, all Trump needed to do was do him the favour of nudging the barrel to make sure it completely removed his brain instead of just taking his face off.

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