2016 Election

Debunking Sanders’ Misinformation Memes

As Senator Bernie Sanders’ chance at winning the nomination decline from slim to none, his campaign and/or supporters are circulating a variety of memes to rally the base and/or smear former Secretary Clinton as they man the barricades of the “Bernie or Bust” movement.  These memes generally are based on false assumptions, factual errors or both.

Koch Non-Endorsement

One of the latest memes claims that a Koch Brother has endorsed Hillary Clinton and that therefore she is not a Democrat.


The reality is no such endorsement occurred.  Charles Koch merely told ABC’s This Week that it was “possible” that Clinton would be a better President that the Republican candidates.  When asked if he could see supporting her, he said her actions “would have to be different from her rhetoric.”  (See below)

The reality also is that Secretary Clinton has expressly stated she is not interested in a Koch endorsement.

Nonetheless, assuming that an endorsement was offered, the logic of the statement based on a single endorsement is ridiculous.  Consider the following:

  • If Justin Beiber endorses does that mean she’s Canadian (and therefore not eligible to run)?
  • If Lilly Tomlin endorses does that mean she’s gay?
  • If Stevie Wonder endorses does that mean she’s black or blind?
  • If LeBron James endorses does that mean she can dunk?

Pay to Play Smear

Another frequent smear meme is to attempt to link donations to the Clinton Foundation to weapons sales made while Clinton was Secretary of State.  Implicit in this meme is a quid pro quo, that by giving to the Clinton Foundation foreign governments were getting rewarded with weapons contracts.

The reality is weapons sales are reviewed by the Defense Department,  approved the Secretary of State and sent to Congress for review.  No issue was ever raised by Congress over any sales made during Secretary Clinton’s tenure.

Why is that?  Because there was no quid pro quo because the U.S. government has been selling arms to these nations for years.  Take Saudi Arabia for example, as outlined below the U.S. has been selling them weapons for nearly 50 years.


Finally, I have also seen the following “Bernie was right” meme which is wrong on point after point.

Bernie was Right Meme

bernie was right

Bernie was Right About Iraq
Yes and No.  It is true that Sanders voted against the 2002 resolution to authorize the use of force in Iraq.  Sanders, however, had voted in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 and a parallel resolution which stated

[i]t should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

Blood Traces: Bernie’s Iraq War Hypocrisy, Counterpunch (Feb. 16, 2016).

Sanders also voted to fund the Iraq War on multiple occasions.

Even if he was right, as I have previously noted, Sanders was wrong in opposing any U.S. leadership role in fighting ISIS and naive to think enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran could form a coalition to fight it.  In endorsing Secretary Clinton over Senator Sanders, the Concord Monitor properly dismissed its neighboring state’s Senator as a “foreign policy naif.”

Bernie was Right About Trade

Guess Again. He blames Flint’s demise on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and subsequent agreements.

The reality is U.S. employment in manufacturing peaked in 1979, long before the rise of China or the passage of agreements such as NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.  As for Flint, the movie “Roger & Me” which depicted the decline of the Detroit region was released in December 20, 1989 – over 4 years before NAFTA came into effect.

Sanders seems to be railing against globalization, as if it were something that could be reversed or repealed. In his disastrous New York Daily News interview he asserted that the U.S. should only trade with countries with “roughly equivalent to the wages and environmental standards in the United States.”  This would shut down trade with many trading partners, lead to a trade war and increase costs for American manufacturers who rely on imports of materials from those countries.

Bernie was Right About Gay Marriage

Not Until 2009.  Bernie opposed same-sex marriage in 2006.  He would not support it until 2009 – five years after the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision legalizing such marriages sparked a national debate.

Bernie was Right About Health Care

Bernie voted in favor of ObamaCare.  His single payer plan is short on details and unlikely to pass.  More importantly, reopening the health care debate now would invite a political holy war.

Bernie was Right About Wall Street

Not so fast.  It is true that Senator Sanders voted against the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, but he did vote for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that prevented regulation of credit default swaps and derivatives – instruments that were vilified during the 2008 financial meltdown.

In his New York Daily News interview, Sanders appeared clueless about Wall Street and unable to articulate how he would go about breaking up big banks – something at the core of his campaign.

bernie-new-york-daily-newsBernie Has Always Stood for Us

Really?  Did he stand for us when he sided with the NRA (helped elect him) and voted against the Brady Bill?  Did he stand for us when he defended human rights abuses in Nicaragua?  I didn’t think so either.