Fact Checking Absurd Memes Attacking Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

One of the driving forces behind this wealth of misinformation we see in today’s society are Internet memes. While memes can be great ways to share information to the masses, the downside is that they can often make inaccurate information seem credible. And being that most people who share memes never investigate the truthfulness of them (most typically just seeing something with which they agree, then click “share” or “retweet”), that misinformation then becomes “fact” for tens of thousands – if not millions.

If you want to support or dislike a particular candidate, or political party, that’s fine – just be sure you’re doing so based on factual information.

That being said, I thought I’d fact check a few of the most common anti-Hillary Clinton and anti-Bernie Sanders memes I see people sharing.

BernieSandersJail2

Obviously, this not a real quote. Not only that, but Sanders’ tax plan doesn’t come anywhere close to 90 percent. For people making over $10 million a year, the rate would be 52 percent. Meanwhile, the rest of his tax rates, even for those making $500k or more per year, would only be 43 percent – or less than half of this “90 percent” nonsense. By the way, all of his proposed tax rates are much lower than what we had during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in the very capitalist United States.

HillaryClintonZelfman

Here’s one that’s actually been debunked by Snopes as “False.” As stated by Snopes:

But nearly everything stated in this passage is wrong: Hillary Rodham didn’t draft a legal brief that was “unethical” (save that it made a legal argument Zeifman didn’t agree with), she didn’t “confiscate” public documents, and she didn’t do anything that she hadn’t been directed to do by her supervisor (and Zeifman’s).

Zeifman had no authority to “terminate” Hillary. They were members of different staffs, and Zeifman had no hiring or firing authority over members of the Impeachment Inquiry staff for which Hillary worked. (That authority rested with Special Counsel John Doar and, ultimately, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino.) Quite tellingly, Zeifman made absolutely no mention of having “fired” or “terminated” Hillary Rodham, nor of telling her that he “could not recommend her for any further positions,” in his 1995 book.

So, that pretty much puts an end to that.

BernieSandersCommunist2

Ah, yes the self-described democratic socialist is somehow a communist. I love how people throw around “socialist” and “communist” like they’re interchangeable when they’re completely different economic philosophies. When someone uses socialist and communist together, all they’re doing is proving that they don’t know what either term actually means. Furthermore, I technically don’t even consider Sanders any sort of a socialist. While he calls himself a “democratic socialist,” all he’s really doing is proposing tax rates similar to what we had a few decades ago (when we were still a capitalist nation), and expanding public education to include public college and Medicare to include everyone.

HillaryClintonSandersGoldwater

Hillary Clinton was born in 1947, therefore, in 1964 she was 17-years-old in a family where she was raised by Republicans. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders was 23-years-old. So, are we really going to make some sort of political point based on the political beliefs of a 17-year-old girl vs. a 23-year-old man? When you’re 69, do you want people to look back to when you were 17 to hold something against you 52 years later? Also what this meme doesn’t address is that Clinton began to question her Republican upbringing around this time and, in 1968 (when she was 21), she began supporting Democrats. But if you really want to hold the political beliefs of a 17-year-old girl who was raised in a Republican household against her 52 years later, go right ahead.

BernieSandersDemocrat

Again, are we going to hold something against a politician for 31 years? While Bernie Sanders has been an independent, he’s mostly always aligned with Democrats in Congress. Maybe at the time this quote was true, but as I’ve defended Hillary Clinton’s right to evolve and progress, I’ll defend Sanders for having that same right. While people might need to answer for things they’ve said or done in the past to clarify their current position, I’m not going to hold it against someone for changing, evolving or adapting their positions.

HillaryClintonVSBernieSanders

Okay, this one’s a long one because there’s a lot that’s inaccurate in possibly the most shared pro-Sanders/anti-Clinton meme I get. I’ll try to go line by line.

Gay Rights: While it’s true Sanders has been more pro-gay than many, he still never fully came out in favor of the national legalization of same-sex marriage until the last few years. In fact, in 2006, he said gay marriage should be a state issue. When asked at the time if he thought Vermont should legalize it, he said “no.”

Not only that, but “gay rights” is a very vague term. Let’s not forget that Bill Clinton, for his time, was fairly pro-gay. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was bold considering the context of society, finally allowing gay Americans a way to serve in the military. Let’s not forget, in the 90’s, even most Democrats were against many gay rights, including legalized marriage.

Spying on US Citizens: This one is true. Sanders has been an opponent to the Patriot Act and many of the controversial bills that have allowed the government to potentially violate the Constitutional rights of some Americans while Clinton has supported some of these measures.

Snowden on NSA Whistleblowing: It’s true Clinton has said she doesn’t support Snowden’s actions and believes he should face criminal prosecution. However, Bernie Sanders never said Snowden was defending American freedom. In fact, Sanders believes Snowden violated laws and should be prosecuted. In other words, this one is completely false.



Vote on Wars: Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan & Syria: So much wrong with this one. For starters, Sanders actually voted in support of the Afghanistan war. Though, as we all know, he opposed the Iraq War. But there was no American “war” in Libya or Syria – nor any “vote” to go to the non-existent war. Not only that, but the military actions President Obama has taken against ISIS in Syria and Iraq happened after Clinton was no longer secretary of state. So she wouldn’t have had anything to do with “voting” for Syria. By the way, secretary of states don’t “vote” for war.

Prisons for Profits excessive incarceration: Well, considering Bernie Sanders voted for Bill Clinton’s “tough on crime” bill which many credit with driving for-profit prisons and harsher punishments, I would say at one time he did support both. Though it’s clear he’s changed his stance on this over the years.

Regulation of Wall Street: Sorry, Glass-Steagall is not the only form of Wall Street regulation that exists. While it’s true he does support reinstating Glass-Steagall, this implies Clinton opposes Wall Street regulations – which isn’t true. She called for regulations early on in the financial crash, supports Dodd-Frank and has called on taking on shadow banking (the main cause of the 2008 crash) if elected president.

TPP, NAFTA & Offshoring Jobs: Now it’s true that Sanders opposes both NAFTA and the TPP while Clinton supports NAFTA and once supported the TPP – though she’s since come out against it. Is her change of heart genuine? Well, that’s clearly subjective. But the fact is that she now opposes it.

Campaign Finance Reform – Citizens United – Super PACs: Considering both candidates have been vocal about overturning Citizens United and getting money out of politics, this is disingenuous. Many well-respected liberals have or had Super PACs, including President Obama. Not only that, but it’s a bit of a misnomer to claim Sanders isn’t being supported by any PAC money – when he is.

Climate Change: Another one of these categories that both candidates have been on the same side of the issue in stressing the importance of combating climate change. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s plans have been called “to the left” of what President Obama has done.

Keystone XL Pipeline: While it’s true Sanders has opposed it from the beginning, at no time did Clinton ever support the project. In fact, she came out stating she opposed it last summer.

Basically what I’m saying is that this meme is almost entirely filled with misinformation and lies.

BernieSandersSocialist

Just because someone has been in Congress for over two decades doesn’t mean they can’t have great ideas. Even most Clinton supporters like Sanders and what he wants to do, they just doubt whether or not many of his bold plans are realistic. While there might be a debate over whether or not a 20+ year veteran of Congress is or isn’t “establishment,” to try to discredit the reality that Sanders does, in fact, have rather bold ideas that are far different than the what we’ve seen in this country is childish.

Oh, and while this isn’t an “attack” on him, sorry folks, this is not Bernie Sanders in this picture:

BernieSandersMLK

Sanders was at MLK’s 1963 march on Washington. This photo is from the Selma march in 1965.

While there are more, I’ll cut it off there. Though I’m sure even though I sourced and linked almost everything I’ve said in this article to back up the fact-checks, many will read it and simply believe whatever the heck they want to believe. Unfortunately, that’s how “realities” are for many people nowadays. What’s factual matters far less than what some people want to be real.

Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know what you think.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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