Focus Friday: Democrats in attack mode
The gloves are off and it’s no more Mrs. and Mr. Nice Guy for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. From attacks against their records to suggestions of presidential qualifications, the Democrats are in full cat fight mode. For this week’s Focus Friday, we discuss the shifting tones in both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns.
I. Is Clinton at risk of losing by suggesting that Sanders is not qualified to be president?
Opinion columnist Samuel Pichowky: Secretary Clinton is at risk of alienating the much-needed Sanders supporters if she is to be the nominee of the party. The more she attacks Sanders, the more his supporters will resent her. First she suggested that his supporters are uninformed, then she insinuated his gun positions would have caused Sandy Hook, and she has occasionally implied that he is a “one-issue” candidate. Sanders supporters will quickly notice these political nudges and return in full force. Clinton needs to make amends with Sanders and his supporters if she expects to unite the party behind her. She also needs to stop questioning whether Sanders is really a Democrat. It does not matter. He is Democratic enough to still be in the race and win six of the last seven primaries.
Opinion columnist Frank Campos: I would have said that this could swing even more momentum in Sanders’ favor, but of course, Bernie not only reciprocated the sentiment but also challenged her foreign policy record. In a presidential race where we have seen the GOP go to all time lows in terms of how they attack each other, this is nothing. With Sanders on the attack heading into New York, Clinton would be smart to double down and continue the tough attitude her New York voters want to see so badly. It seems Clinton already has. If you check Clinton’s twitter page, you will see at least five of her last 10 tweets contain either the words “qualified” or “unqualified,” and she now has a link to a support sticker that reads “qualified.” This is no doubt a huge moment in the race for the Democratic nomination, but something as minor as this is better left on the back burner so that we can focus on the future and the policies that matter.
Opinion editor Anthony Torres: Hillary Clinton has seemingly become more and more frustrated with the fact that Sanders is doing so well. This all started when she made the claim that the Sanders campaign was “lying” about her accepting Super PAC money from members of the fossil fuel industry. Then she casually mentioned that because she has been a Democrat longer than Sanders, she is more qualified to be on the Democratic ticket. This belittling of Sanders is something that wasn’t exactly expected coming from the Democratic side, especially seeing as both candidates virtually took a vow not to be as harsh to each other as the Republicans have been this cycle.
II. Will Sanders’ harsh comments backfire for him?
SP: As long as Sanders sticks to the issues while defending himself from Clinton attacks, he should have no problem from his support. As far as I am concerned, he has for the most part stuck to the issues. The only time he has brought up Secretary Clinton is when he contrasts his views with hers. This should not garner controversy because he is competing with her for the nomination. Bringing up her past is a new one for Sanders, but as long as they are true statements instead of falsehoods then it is reasonable and in line with his campaign philosophy.
FC: Sanders has always been a no-nonsense type of guy to me. You can spend at least an hour on YouTube watching his tirades against the poor souls who thought they could tax the poor and help the rich on his watch. Despite all of his recent victories, Sanders’ road to the nomination is a rough one. The likelihood of a nomination is slim, and he knows it. If by some miracle he can win New York, he can probably win anywhere. Now is the time for him to get tough and try to show the American people he really is a true outsider. Sanders is smart to go with what he knows and stick to his true personality. This strategy will absolutely pay off at the end if he can win New York.
AT: This only backfires in the sense that the mainstream media will spin this to make it look bad for Sanders and make it appear he is attacking her without reason. The fact is, Clinton has continually attacked Sanders while playing victim to any response he had for any of her claims. Sanders, naturally, simply has had enough of it. Instead of acting polite and giving general answers to brush off questions about her claims, he has opted for the double-punch response to anything she says that harshly criticizes him for things that are either false or half-true.
–The Cougar opinion desk