Debunk This by Matt Palumbo

The third Democratic debate took place last Thursday, and in the betting markets, Trump’s odds of winning the 2020 election have only increased since then.

The Democratic Party’s march further and further left ideologically in recent decades has been well documented, and it was on full display on the debate stage.

The candidates made plenty of statements that should make anyone think twice about voting for any of them – here are just a few.

Yes, They Are Coming For Your Guns

Beto O’Rourke shattered the facade that “nobody is coming for your guns,” telling the crowd “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47” in response to a question about supporting a mandatory gun buyback of so-called assault weapons. A friend joked that Beto must be trying to capture Eric Swalwell’s 0.1% of the vote.

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A mandatory buyback is no different than gun confiscation, and compensation being offered (which would probably be minimal) doesn’t change that.

The ultimate problem with any buyback is that there’s no national gun registry, so there’s no record of who owns all of the estimated 15 million AR-15s in circulation. What does he expect the government to do, go knocking door to door?

Even with a registry, there will be a percentage of the public that doesn’t give up their guns, and then what happens? Beto evidently doesn’t want to find out, because when one Texas Congressman essentially echoed his State’s symbol of defiance (“come and take it”), Beto interpreted it as a death threat (which it was not):

Just last year Politifact rated a claim from Sen. Ted Cruz that Beto wants to “take away guns” as false. Oops.

Bernie Sanders Thinks America is a Third World Country

Forget the developing world, Bernie Sanders says that the U.S. has “the highest child poverty rate of almost any country on Earth.” Who knew that children in America were worse off than countries where people live on a dollar a day?

As I previously explained in an essay that appears in my book “Debunk This,” Bernie is basing this off of a study from UNICEF which claims that the U.S. ranks 34th out of 35 developed countries (not all countries like Bernie claimed) when it comes to childhood poverty.

The fatal flaw in the study can be summarized in a single sentence: it doesn’t measure poverty, it measures inequality. Or put differently, it measures relative poverty, not absolute poverty. In context of the study’s methodology, poverty is defined as a (a child living in a) household earning below 50% of the median income in a country. That fact alone greatly exacerbates the number of “poor” in a sample, especially in countries with greater amounts of income inequality (like the U.S.).

In the U.S., real median personal income for an individual was $31,099 in 2016. The poverty threshold for an individual that year was set at $11,770. If the U.S. defined poverty by Oxfam’s criteria, the poverty line would be increased to $15,549, which would obviously increase the number of people in poverty (on paper), without changing anyone’s actual standard of living.

Among the nations on the list that are ranked as having less child poverty than the U.S. in UNICEF’s report are: Bulgaria (18.8% child poverty),  Lithuania (15.4%),  and Slovakia (11.2%).  The average monthly income in Bulgaria is $416, $655 in Lithuania, and $853 in Slovakia. Given that the U.S. poverty line for an individual is $11,770, and the average incomes for all citizens in those three countries would put one below the U.S. poverty line, it’s impossible to believe they could somehow have less child poverty than the U.S.

So yes, the U.S. has a lot of childhood poverty when you have to redefine poverty to make your point.

Taking Vote Buying to New Heights

If you thought Democrats were trying to buy votes with the vast portfolio of social programs they offer, Andrew Yang is working to take that to a whole new level. In a debate where candidate Amy Klobuchar accused Trump of running America “like a game show,” Yang apparently drew some inspiration from those comments, and promised to give $1,000 a month for an entire year to ten American families, paid for with his campaign funds:

It’s a desperate gimmick – and possibly violates campaign finance laws. Quoting TIME Magazine: “Handing out money to individuals for their own personal use would seem to be a violation of campaign-finance law,” says Erin Chlopak, director of campaign finance strategy at the Campaign Legal Center and a former FEC attorney. “It’s hard for me to envision how taking campaign funds and just handing it out to individuals would not violate the personal use prohibition.”

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Big League Prison Reform 

And lastly, Joe Biden decided to take a stand on the criminal justice debate, deciding that only violent crimes are crimes. “Nobody should be in jail for a nonviolent crime” he said. Many candidates have taken this stance regarding non-violent drug offenders with users in mind, but it must be noted that many drug traffickers also fit the definition of “non-violent.” Regardless, none had taken a stance as extreme as Biden did.

I’m not sure fighting for the rights of Bernie Madoff is going to be a winning issue for voters in 2020.