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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
OpinionHeading into the mid-terms, almost every Republican talking point is a lie

Heading into the mid-terms, almost every Republican talking point is a lie

With the midterm elections coming up on November 8, Americans are feeling that familiar, forehead-crushing sense of tension, which was exacerbated last week by a pair of speeches – one by President Joe Biden and the other by former President Donald Trump.

Biden’s speech, which came on the heels of him having held a two-hour meeting with historians who warned that America is taking a marked curve toward totalitarianism, hit hard at MAGA Republicans, distinguishing them from mainstream Republicans while highlighting their pronounced spirit of lawlessness and refusal to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

Trump’s speech, which came on the heels of Biden’s speech (as well as his Mar-a-Lago resort being raided by the FBI), hit hard at Democrats while painting a grim picture of America and its future. He said, and I quote:

“Our country is going to hell. This election is a referendum on skyrocketing inflation, ramping crime, soaring murders, crushing gas prices, millions and millions of illegal aliens pouring across our border, race and gender indoctrination, converting our schools and above all this election is a referendum on the corruption and extremism of Joe Biden and the radical Democrat party.”

The handy thing about that paragraph is that it offers a tidy and efficient summation of everything the Republican Party is running on heading into November. And since a fast-rising number of Americans (half of us) now identify as Independents, and are therefore open to persuasion, I’m happy to report that almost everything Trump listed is an absolute lie. Let’s take the points one by one:

1. Our country is going to hell

This is of course a subjective call, but it bears mentioning that Biden’s racking up a historic list of achievements, from Infrastructure to the American Rescue Plan to the Inflation Reduction Act to the CHIPS and Science Act to the PACT Act to the first major gun safety law in 30 years to student debt relief to record job growth. In contrast, Trump’s only major legislative accomplishment was tax reform. Oh, and he also appointed the far-right judges who helped overturn Roe v. Wade (an unpopular choice that 62% of Americans of all political affiliations disagree with). In fact, the only thing that’s made me feel like we’re “going to hell” lately is the Roe v. Wade reversal, a Republican accomplishment. The Democrats, on the other hand, are at least trying to move us forward…

2. Skyrocketing inflation

OK, since I’m an Independent myself, I ain’t gonna lie: This is the single most damning thing the Republicans can lob at the Democrats. That’s why it was the first thing on Trump’s list (after he inspired us all by saying the country’s going to hell). However, inflation (a top concern among voters, along with abortion) is showing signs of easing: in July, the 12-month change in inflation had cooled to 8.5%, down from June’s four-decade high of 9.1%. And it looks like easing student debt will help to get it lower. So “skyrocketing inflation” is technically wrong, as it’s not still going up. Aside from that quibble, the Republicans are right: Joe Biden’s America struggles with a high-inflation problem. 

3. Ramping crime, Soaring murders  

“Ramping” is what the transcript said, although I suspect the former president was trying to say “rampant.” Murder and other violent crimes did go way up in 2020 due to the pandemic and all that came with it (increased gun purchases, declining mental health, more financial pressure, strapped law enforcement) but are now showing merciful signs of going down. In the meantime, mostly on account of their higher gun ownership and poverty, the states with the highest murder rates are red states

4. Crushing gas prices

This is a dated talking point: gas prices peaked on June 14 but have been falling for over two months and are expected to continue to do so.

 5. Millions and millions of illegal aliens pouring across our border 

There are not “millions and millions” of migrants “pouring across our border.” Here are the facts: In fiscal year 2021, the U.S. Border Patrol reported 1,659,206 migrant encounters at our Southern border. The previous highs were in 2000 (1,643,679) and 1986 (1,615,844). Fiscal year 2022, which ends on September 30, has already passed 1.82 million arrests, and is expected to see more than 2 million – at which point Trump can say “millions” with a straight face, yet not “millions and millions,” let alone “pouring across” (more on that in a moment…).

However, according to Pew Research Center, regarding 2021 and 2020, “While the number of encounters was the highest on record last fiscal year, the number of individuals encountered was considerably lower. That’s because more than a quarter of all migrant encounters at U.S. borders in both fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020 (27% and 26%, respectively) involved repeat crossers, according to CBP statistics.”

The repeat crossings are a recent phenomenon. They came about due to a health law passed by the Trump administration called Title 42. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Initially, Trump administration officials thought Title 42 would suppress border crossings because it denies migrants a chance to ask for asylum, the first step in a process that allows them to remain in the country while they pursue their claim. At the time, most illegal border crossings were made by Central American families doing just that…But under the law, there is no penalty for repeated crossings—migrants are simply apprehended and sent back across the border.”

The Biden administration attempted to lift Title 42 but was shot down by a federal court. 

Moreover, and notably, a Border Patrol “encounter” generally leads to a migrant’s arrest and/or expulsion. Only when child migrants appear by themselves or migrants appear with acute illnesses are they allowed into the U.S. To be sure, many more migrants have been attempting to cross into the United States during the Biden years than they did in the Trump years, but the rising trend can be traced to Trump’s Title 42, as well as, according to The International Rescue Committee (IRC), “violence, climate change, rising poverty, and COVID-19.” 

In other words, not Democrats. 

6. Race and gender indoctrination, converting our schools 

The word “indoctrination” constitutes speculation as to motive, which every good journalist knows is always a bad idea. Moving on to facts: 

(a) On the race front, Trump was referring to critical race theory being taught in American classrooms. Critical race theory examines how racism operates within our modern societal structures. But according to a survey conducted last summer by the nonpartisan Association of American Educators, more than 96% of American public schools have no requirement that their educators teach critical race theory in their classrooms. 

(b) On the gender front, Trump was referring to how more young people now identify in gender-nonconforming ways than they have in the past. This is true. According to a Gallup poll conducted earlier this year, 7.1% of U.S. adults, primarily in Generation Z, identify as LGBTQ, up from 5.6% in 2021, and about twice as much as in 2012. According to The Washington Post, “This year’s record high includes 21% of Gen Zers who have reached adulthood — which Gallup defines as those born between 1997 and 2003 — making them the generational group with the largest proportion of LGBTQ people. Among millennials, 10.5% self-identify as LGBTQ, while 4.2% of Generation X, 2.6% of baby boomers, and 0.8% of traditionalists do, according to the Gallup data.”

As to young adults (under 30), about 5.1% of them identify as trans or non-binary. Said Sharita Gruberg, Vice President of LGBTQI+ Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, “Gen Z has grown up at a time when stigma around LGBTQ identities is on the decline and rights are expanding. As greater awareness about the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities grows, and as stigma surrounding LGBTQ identity lessens, we’re likely to see more people self-identify as LGBTQ.”

Likewise, one need only view the generation-by-generation shift toward greater LGBTQ modes of self-identity to frame it as a form of progress rather than a product of recent left-wing indoctrination. 

7. The corruption and extremism of Joe Biden and the radical Democrat party

Regarding corruption: You won’t find me denying, running from, or breaking out in hives over the Hunter Biden laptop saga. If that’s enough of a smoking gun for you to favor Donald Trump over Joe Biden, then you’re probably a Republican and not an Independent, and I’ve enjoyed what I’m sure has been a spirited discussion. 

Regarding extremism: That’s another subjective call. All I can say there is that when I praise Joe Biden, my Bernie Bro friends tend to jump down my throat, which is ironic since I voted for Bernie in the primaries. In any case, somehow this so-called “radical Democratic party” has made room for and worked with the owner of a coal company, a person who’s incidentally the most powerful man alive. I certainly wish they were more radical, as at a minimum we would have gotten Build Back Better instead of the Inflation Reduction Act, but alas, for the time being I have to accept their neoliberal moderateness.

Which incidentally is a far better option than the extremism being offered by the Republican Party.

 

 



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Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer and filmmaker. He has won awards for journalism (CA Journalism Award) and screenwriting (Fade In Award), and has served as a ghostwriter, speechwriter, or script doctor for over 3,000 clients. His first novel is a dark political thriller called "Red Dennis" (2020). His first nonfiction book is a guide for helping writers be more productive called "Ass Plus Seat" (2020). He co-hosts the "House of Mystery Radio Show" on NBC News Radio. Eric's books can be purchased here.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Boy, talk about a blind partisan op ed. Shapiro’s indoctrination by the Soros funded MSM and Marc Elias directed socialist agenda thoroughly worked on him for sure. Biden’s speech denigrating half of the USA, (similar to Clinton’s “Deplorables” speech) has been widely condemned by both parties. His record on gas prices, inflation, the border crisis, fentanyl epidemic, return to energy dependence, authoritarian Covid mandates, crime surge, the war on parents, legally shipping migrants across state borders, the baby formula fiasco, enacting abortion radicalism, holding kids hostage to trans radicalism, the Afghanistan debacle, selling our strategic oil reserves to our enemies, the FBI’s suppression of the Hunter laptop, the 2000 mules who skewed the election, the Russian collusion hoax, the faux Jan. 6 committee, Biden’s play to pay with Ukraine to save Hunter’s butt, Biden’s lies about his business dealings with Hunter, and on and on and on is just a series of failures and lies! The FBI and DOJ are helping him! Biden’s record speaks for itself regardless of what the Republicans say. Even is own party doesn’t want him to run again because he’s been such a disaster.

    Trump may be a puffed up self important loudmouth, but at least he keeps his promises to the American people and puts them first, not like China Joe.

    Has Biden ever visited the border?

    Hey Shapiro, nice try at deflecting attention from the disaster currently in the WH. Like the Jan. 6 committee, it’s the left’s attempt to use a shiny object to get the attention of the easily distracted away from Biden’s failures. Left brain people don’t fall for it.

    • What the editors here really mean when they say fiercely independent is that’s fiercely independent and intolerant of anything other than Leftist/Progressive dogma.

  2. Gee, Donald, where do you get your lies, Fox (so-called) News? The Republican Party-of-NO did nothing for the average American during Trump’s 4 traitorous years in office. (You don’t think he stole all those national secrets just to read rather than sell, do you?) In Congress, the Republican shills for the billionaires (purchased thanks to the right-wing activists on the Supreme Court that OK’d bribery) passed a huge tax break for them, and now are screwing the rest of us by opposing nearly everything President Biden wants (like a $6T Build Back Better plan). If you don’t like the progress that Biden is struggling for now, just wait until after the November election when the Democratic Party won’t be controlled by Joe Manchin, and major legislation will get past the obstructionist Republican Party (cult?).
    .
    BTW, President Biden’s list of accomplishments is especially impressive given how the deck has been stacked against him. With some Congressional mojo, he could become this century’s FDR. https://joebiden.com/accomplishments/#

      • First, citing Steve Scalise as a source of information immediately calls into question your judgement. Putting aside the “messenger”, let’s look at the “message”: TOPLINE: As the world watches President Biden deliver his State of the Union Address tonight, it’s important to remember that Biden has no plan to fix his self-made crises and make America great again.
        .
        Did you not hear about the Build Back Better program that would have committed $6T of investments in America’s infrastructure and social safety net? Every Republican (including Scalise) voted against it — along with sensible gun control.
        .
        The rest of Scalise’s Press Release is equally untrue. I suggest you find a better news source with credibility in the real world — not the Trump world.

        • Ah, yes, the first thing out of you is a personal attack, not a cogent response. The difference between your link on Biden and mine is your reference was all rhetoric and generalities, lacking any details. Mine contained numbers documenting problems and links to references supporting them. Like your posts, full of bluster,, personal attacks and bullying. But, listen to them. That’s all they have. The BBB plan failed under it’s own socialistic leaning.

  3. If you believe even one thing the Democrats and the Left say, I’d suggest acquiring a different set of sources for your news, and research. The Left lies like you breathe, and we currently have a barely ambulatory vulgar racist for a President, and an utterly inept racist vice president, combined with a whole lot of anti-semitic goons, and Marxists in the house and senate.

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