Tomorrow is election day in the United States, and like many I’ve been obsessed with politics during the last few months. I channeled this into the creation of some political dashboards and I’d like to share my 2 favorites with you. You’ve probably already made up your mind on the presidential election, but if not I really hope you find the following useful.
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
First, all politicians have some reputation for lying. This isn’t accidental, as stretching the truth is a commonplace strategy for convincing others to agree with one’s views. The website Politifact has sprung up in 2007 as a check against this phenomenon. They evaluate newsworthy quotes from politicians and score them on a scale that ranges from absolutely “True” to so inaccurate & ridiculous that it deserves to be called “Pants on Fire.”
Please, use this dashboard as a way to check your own assumptions about a politician’s honesty. It is tempting for most of us to focus on the truths told by the candidate we like and the the falsehoods spread by their opponents. However, we are more likely to learn new and interesting things about public figures by trying to stretch beyond our political echo chambers by also taking time to look at lies from those we admire and truths told by ‘enemies.’
While you do so, there are certainly on which you may question Politifact’s decision in ruling on a particular statement or in deciding which pronouncements they will attempt to judge in the first. Neither of these matters are without controversy, but it should be noted that 1) such critiques have come from both sides of the aisle and 2) they have won a Pulitzer prize for their work, which should not be taken lightly.
Publications’ Endorsements for POTUS
I also found a wonderful resource for newspapers’ Presidential endorsements, 1980-present. There have been some general trends, with publications leaning towards the Republicans in the 80s and moving left afterwards, but this year’s endorsements illustrate just how abnormal this election is.
You can use the menus at the bottom to highlight a particular paper, focus only on conservative papers (which seem to tell a particular interesting story in 2016), or choose to include 3rd party endorsements or papers’ abstentions. Regardless of the perspective you choose however, it is overwhelmingly clear that the press by and large see Trump as a truly abnormal and untrustworthy option. Some Trump supporters may see this as proof of a conspiracy against their candidate. From my point of view it is a reflection that those who have to pay close attention see him a dishonest con man whose greatest accomplishment has been inheriting nearly a quarter billion dollars and has not quite managed to squander said fortune.