the Democrat's guide to talking politics with

your republican uncle

The holiday season is filled with food, traveling, and lively discussions with Republican relatives about politics — sometimes laced with statements that are just not true.

Here are the most common myths spouted by your family members who spend too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh — and the perfect response to each of them:

2014: What happened and what’s next

Myth

Voters rejected Democratic policies in November.

Fact

Midterm elections are historically very difficult for the party that holds the White House. Even though this year’s results weren’t what we wanted, states like Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota - all red states - passed measures by double digits to increase the minimum wage . Voters also rejected personhood amendments in two states that would’ve infringed on a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, approved a gun safety measure in Washington, and passed paid sick leave in Massachusetts.


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Myth

2014 was just the beginning of the bad news for Democrats.

Fact

Democrats have so many reasons to be excited for 2016 . Not only is it a presidential election year, when more voters turn out (and turn out for Dems), but the Senate map (which is full of extreme Tea Party Republicans) is much friendlier for Democrats looking to keep and pick up seats. Add that to the news that the U.S. economy added more jobs so far in 2014 than in any year of President George W. Bush’s administration, and you’ll see why Democrats are looking forward to 2016.


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Pay Equity: Simple dollars and cents

Myth

Women don't really make less money than men in the workplace; they just make different choices.

Fact

Women earn 78 cents to every dollar a man makes . The gender wage gap is real, and it's hurting American families. That's why President Obama's first act in office was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to make it easier for workers to challenge unequal pay.


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Myth

Raising the minimum wage will cost the economy jobs.

Fact

We don’t need to rely on theories for this one: Thirteen states raised the minimum wage at the beginning of 2014, so let’s look at what happened there. The average for job growth in states that did not raise the minimum wage was 0.61%, but the average for those thirteen states that raised the wage was 0.85% -- even better . So not only would raising the minimum wage directly help 28 million workers, we have already seen states that have raised the wage this year experience greater job growth.


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Myth

Raising the minimum wage would only help teenagers.

Fact

Only 12% of those who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are teenagers — the other 88% are age 20 or older, often with households to support. Also, did you know that women are more likely than men to find themselves working a minimum wage job ? That's part of why President Obama supports an increase in the minimum wage — because raising the minimum wage would benefit 28 million Americans and strengthen the middle class.


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Myth

Raising the minimum wage hurts small businesses.

Fact

Let’s ask the experts: 61% of small business owners support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour . Small business owners believe that when employees are paid fairly, there’s less turnover, more money in local economies, and higher customer satisfaction.


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Economy: More than 10 million reasons why your Republican uncle is wrong

Myth

President Obama has increased the deficit.

Fact

Since President Obama took office, the deficit as a percentage of GDP has been cut by more than 50% , and the deficit today is smaller than it’s been on average over the last 40 years.


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Myth

Where are all the jobs that President Obama promised?

Fact

Since President Obama took office, the private sector has seen job growth for 57 consecutive months , the longest streak on record. Businesses have added close to 11 million jobs during this time. In fact, the economy has created more jobs so far in 2014 than in any year of George W. Bush’s presidency. And that shutdown move the GOP pulled last year? It cost 120,000 private sector jobs.


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Myth

Democrats like President Obama have raised my taxes.

Fact

President Obama has cut taxes repeatedly for middle class families. In the first four years of his administration, a typical family making $50,000 a year received $3,600 in tax cuts . But Paul Ryan’s plan, which House Republicans passed, would cut taxes for the rich and raise taxes for middle class families.


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Myth

All of President Obama’s new taxes make life impossible for small businesses.

Fact

President Obama has cut taxes for small businesses 18 times since taking office , allowing them to grow and create jobs. But remember Paul Ryan’s plan? It would actually cost the economy millions of jobs, which isn’t great for businesses of any size.


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Health Care: Market-based, constitutional, and definitely not socialist

Myth

Obamacare isn't working.

Fact

Thanks to Obamacare, more than 10 million Americans have gained health insurance.  Millions are benefitting by staying on their parents' health insurance plans, accessing preventive services without a copay, and enjoying the peace of mind that comes from knowing that insurance companies can no longer discriminate based on pre-existing conditions.


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Myth

Obamacare is a government takeover of the health care system.

Fact

Let’s be honest — the Affordable Care Act was born out of ideas originally proposed by Republicans. It relies on private insurers and actually strengthens the employer-based health care system that already exists . Now that it’s a law passed by President Obama, Republicans want to put insurance companies back in charge.


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Myth

Obamacare should be unconstitutional.

Fact

Well... it's not. Despite the fact that a bunch of Republican Attorneys General wasted taxpayer dollars trying to prove otherwise, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional in 2012 .


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Myth

Obamacare only adds to the deficit, and it’s going to bankrupt this country.

Fact

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit, saving more than $200 billion in the first decade and $1 trillion in the following 10 years . So if you care about reducing the deficit or keeping actual American families out of bankruptcy, you should support Obamacare.


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Climate: 97% of scientists vs. your Republican uncle

Myth

Climate change is just a liberal scare tactic.

Fact

Forgive us for being convinced by the 97% of climate scientists who agree that climate change is real  and believe that humans are probably causing it. Republican obstruction on policies to address climate change endangers our environment and hurts our economy.


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Myth

Humans can't do anything to combat rising CO2 levels.

Fact

Except we already are combating rising CO2. In 2012, the U.S. recorded the lowest levels of carbon emissions in nearly two decades . And by taking steps like improving fuel efficiency, we can do more in the years ahead. Because of new standards, for instance, the average car in 2025 will achieve a fuel economy equivalent to 54.5 miles per gallon, nearly double that of cars on the road today. A goal, by the way, that Republicans tried to block.


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Myth

The United States can't stay economically competitive if we address climate change.

Fact

Climate change itself is taking a toll on our economy. In 2012, climate and weather disasters cost the United States more than $100 billion . And right now, other countries are making huge investments in research and development to confront this crisis with new technologies — which means new industries and new jobs. We can't afford to fall behind them. The longer Republicans deny climate change exists, the further we fall behind.


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Myth

President Obama wants the United States to stop climate change alone.

Fact

This summer President Obama announced a plan to reduce U.S. carbon pollution 25% from 2005 levels by 2020. But he also knows that climate change can only be solved if the international community works together. That’s why this November, the President announced a groundbreaking agreement to work with China to reduce carbon pollution and to increase the country's non-fossil fuel energy to around 20% by 2030  .


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Immigration: No amnesty, just facts

Myth

President Obama's executive action on immigration is going to lead to amnesty and anarchy.

Fact

Not so fast. The President's plan will keep families together, make it easier for highly-skilled immigrants and job creators to stay in the country, and strengthen border security . It's not amnesty — the status quo is amnesty. It's also not a permanent fix. Now, Republicans in Congress need to step up and work with the President to create lasting solutions to our country’s broken immigration system.


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Myth

A path to citizenship will hurt our economy.

Fact

That's just not the case. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that immigration reform will increase real GDP by 5.4 percent by 2033  — that's an increase of nearly $1.4 trillion (yes, trillion).


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Myth

Immigration reform will bankrupt this country.

Fact

If we pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill — which was written by a group of Republicans and Democrats and passed the Senate in 2013 with bipartisan support — we'll cut the federal budget deficit by about $850 billion in the next 20 years  ... but who's counting?


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Myth

The DREAM Act lets illegal immigrants go to college for free at the expense of Americans.

Fact

DREAM Act students would not be eligible for federal grants at all . They could be eligible for federal loans, however, but they need to pay those back. And DREAMERs are people who were brought to America as children and have never called any other country home. Isn't allowing those young people to get an education or serve in our military part of the American dream?


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Myth

Immigration reform just gives amnesty to all the people who came here illegally, and that just means more people will come here illegally.

Fact

Someone's been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh. The comprehensive immigration reform bill requires those who have entered this country illegally to pass a background check, pay taxes, learn English, pay a penalty, and then go to the back of the line . That’s hardly amnesty.


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