Facts, not spin

Editor, Daily Union: A recent letter to the Daily Union relies on its author’s “research on Politico” as evidence that the current president of the United States has a success rate of 84.6 percent in attaining “123 reported goals," but I was unable to find information of any kind related to the author’s several claims, on which more is below.

I did subsequently find a report called “Tracking Trump’s Campaign Promises” on the website PolitiFact, and, since the number of entries listed there totaled 122, by my count (one of us made a mistake in adding up the entries in Politico’s six-page account, though I counted the entries twice), I wonder if the author of the letter simply mixed up two similar-sounding website names.

In any case, according to PolitiFact, the 51 promises the author of the letter describes as “currently being worked on” PolitiFact labels as “In the Works.” Since “in the works” cannot mean “achieved,” this reduces the author’s tally of 104 goals that “have been reached” from 104 to 53, or from 84.6 percent to 43.1 percent. The 27 goals the author claims “have been worked on” are what PolitiFact determined to be “stalled.” bringing the number of goals that “have been made” further down. Adding the 19 goals that “have not yet been achieved” (PolitiFact: promises broken), the result is 26 promises kept out of 122 made, a success rate of 21.3 percent that is, in turn, hard to tally with the author’s conclusion that “Any president reaching this kind of success is simply incredible.”

Beyond the numbers, and to assess these different interpretations of them, it is worth every reader’s time to visit https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/browse/ and read PolitiFact’s analyses of any or all of the president’s promises/goals. The facts and sources, but not the spin, are there. — John H. Callan, Fort Atkinson.

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