The Phony Campaign

2015-12-27 Update

No changes to our candidate list, according to PredictWise. Trump's hit counts cratered, putting him and Hillary into a neck-and-neck battle for first place; Rubio and Sanders trade places, with Rubio in fourth place this week.

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2015-12-20
"Donald Trump" phony 88,600 -97,400
"Hillary Clinton" phony 87,800 +7,800
"Ted Cruz" phony 43,900 -17,000
"Bernie Sanders" phony 39,500 -4,300
"Marco Rubio" phony 31,100 -12,700
"Jeb Bush" phony 30,100 -12,700
"Chris Christie" phony 20,100 -6,600

Did the Christmas season put a dent in phoniness this week? You be the judge:

  • In perhaps the week's least surprising development, Politifact awarded its coveted Lie of the Year to the collected misstatements of Donald Trump.

    It’s the trope on Trump: He’s authentic, a straight talker, less scripted than traditional politicians. That’s because Donald Trump doesn’t let facts slow him down. Bending the truth or being unhampered by accuracy is a strategy he has followed for years.

    The combination of Politifact's left tilt and Trump's general disdain for reality made this a foregone conclusion. They published an edited selection of reader comments, of which I thought the following was very on-target:

    "I’m no fan of Trump, but you all probably gave him a major boost with your partisan predictability. Hillary's lies are substantive, willful, strategic and of consequence. But she's a Democrat and you were never going to go there. Your recognition of Trump's lies as being on a greater scale than Hillary’s will only bolster the view of most Trump supporters that the media and PolitiFact is wholly in the tank for Hillary. And they would be right."

    A half-cheer to Politifact for printing this.

  • There was a lot of furor—I guess—about Trump using the word "schlonged" to describe the nature of Hillary's defeat by Obama in 2008.

    Now much of the outrage was obviously phony. For example:

    A prominent ally of Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump is invoking the image of “a black rapist” by saying President Obama “schlonged” her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

    On the other hand…

    I'm probably old-fashioned, but it was just one more reminder that Trump has little sense of dignity. This should not be news.

  • Politico's clickbait headline: What Ted Cruz said behind closed doors. Ooh! And the subhead: "A secret tape from a New York fundraiser could mean trouble for a candidate selling authenticity." Double ooh!

    But mid-piece:

    While Cruz’s private comments to a more moderate GOP audience do not contradict what the Republican Texas senator has said elsewhere, …

    Ah. Well, never mind.

  • Tennis star Jennifer Capriati has our tweet of the week: