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Not So Dark

April 2, 2016
This is a whiny, nonsensical, and exaggerated opinion piece from Michael Cohen at the Boston Globe. I’m going to refute it here, point by point, for those who have been citing it.
First, there’s the headline: “A Dark Turn…” …Is this would-be Clinton defender, or the Globe’s editorial staff, trying to equate Sanders’ campaign to Trump’s? How “dark” have things become?

Second, after much whining, the author says this: “Make no mistake, these are legitimate attacks on Clinton, but they do contradict Sanders’ pledge to avoid personal attacks and character assassination.” Okay, so all the things mentioned in the 8 paragraphs above are legitimate? If those things are legitimate, how could they be characterized as “character assassination” or “personal attacks”? Which is it?
Third, the author complains that Clinton’s name is being mentioned more often at Sanders campaign events, and that some booing occurs with that mention. How can one run against an opponent without mentioning that opponent’s name? If an opponent has negative attributes, is mentioning them character assassination?
Finally, there’s this from Cohen: “While I understand the need to maintain a brave face for his supporters, Sanders is doing them and the party he wants to represent no favors not just by misleading them about his chances, but by increasing their dislike of Clinton.”
How is Sanders misleading his followers about his chances? By continuing? What if a preference for Sanders has always been predicated by a certain kind of distaste for Clinton? Has Sanders himself really been adding to that distaste in any substantial fashion, by simply naming her more often now than he did in the past?
None of these things constitute darkness. The Cohen article has no sense of proportion. Things could get relatively “darker” according to Cohen’s criteria, and probably will. But the Sanders campaign will still be a relatively moderate oppositional endeavor in the long history of presidential campaigns. And it will in no way become what we’ve seen on the Republican side of the ledger.
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