During the course of any political campaign, the trustworthiness of each individual candidate undergoes close scrutiny by both journalists and voters. Those who are more inclined to have cynicism toward a candidate’s statements or those with more partisan interests believe that some politicians are less trustworthy than others.
This analysis has especially been in evidence with regard to the 2016 presidential campaign, with heated rhetoric and past actions on both sides fueling much of the conflict between the Democratic and Republican contenders.
Sifting through the many statements made during the campaign has been the job of fact-checking services that have been created within the last decade. One website in particular, PolitiFact, grades the validity of such remarks by designating them in a variety of ways.
These range from statements that are completely true to ones that shade the truth or are egregious lies. Each of the four major candidates still in the race have seen their comments carefully assessed, with none of them escaping the very worst designation of “Pants on Fire,” which is given to remarks that have no basis in fact.
According to PolitiFact’s findings, the two Democratic contenders, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, fare much better than the two main Republicans, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, when it comes to the truthfulness of their statements.
When it comes to the highest mark of “True,” Clinton has the highest mark of the four candidates at 24 percent. Next is Sanders at 15 percent, followed by Cruz at six percent and Trump at the bottom with just three percent.
Regarding the other end of this spectrum, statements that receive the worst designations of either “False” or “Pants on Fire,” show that Clinton and Sanders are virtually tied for the best among the quartet in this category. Clinton’s comments have been assessed in this manner 14 percent of the time, compared to 15 percent for Sanders.
In contrast, Cruz’s comments have been judged to be in the two worst categories 36 percent of the time. Trump’s numbers are even worse at 61 percent.
Clinton’s trustworthiness has been the source of many Republican complaints over the past quarter century. From her time as Frist Lady to her role as a New York Senator to her time as Secretary of State, Clinton’s public comments and actions have been under a microscope.
During her time in the latter role, Republicans believe that she lied about the September 11, 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Countless investigations haven’t uncovered any evidence, with Clinton herself testifying for 11 hours during one congressional hearing last October.
The current debate concerns her use of a private e-mail server, which has led to an investigation by the FBI, with many Republicans believing that she could be indicted for her actions.
Sanders’ comments have provided fodder for those who believe that he’ll turn the United States into a Socialist state. Even Clinton has attacked his proposals as potentially devastating to the economy.
Cruz has claimed, among other things, that the Affordable Care Act has been a “job-killer,” which was shown to be incorrect. In addition, he’s said that one health insurance company cancelled their policies in Texas, which was shown to be false.
Finally, Trump’s statements have falsely claimed that the unemployment rate could be 42 percent and that the Obama administration wants to bring in 250,000 Syrian refugees.
With Clinton the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, her comments will continue to be a source of political debate until at least November-and perhaps longer.