Most Negative Campaign in Democratic Primary History?

The latest narrative: Sanders is “running the most negative campaign of any Democratic presidential candidate” in primary history.  This accusation comes from Joel Benenson, Clinton’s senior campaign strategist, in a new interview on CNN.  (CNN is owned by Time Warner, a major Clinton campaign donor.)
There’s only one problem: This negativity simply doesn’t exist.

Sanders hasn’t ran a single negative ad. He hasn’t given a negative statement, hasn’t made a negative tweet… He has perhaps ran the cleanest campaign in decades.  So what is it that has Mr. Benenson up in arms?
HRC and her surrogates believe that pointing out her record, her fundraising on Wall Street, and her inconsistencies on policy are personal attacks.  They’re fostering a conversation in which any statement that falls short of praising their chosen candidate is a brazen violation of Sanders’ promise to stay focused on the issues, even when those statements are indeed focused solely on the issues.
Among the most pressing subjects in this race is campaign financing and the real or perceived ethical boundaries being crossed as a result.  As Sanders and GOP front-runner Donald Trump gain notoriety for their antiestablishment views on accepting corporate money — albeit for very different reasons — Clinton is courting her pool of megarich donors at private fundraising events, sometimes collecting max donations from executives who’ve also paid big money to GOP candidates.  In highlighting these questionable actions, Sanders draws a massive policy disagreement between himself and Clinton.  Addressing money in politics isn’t personal; it’s the root of Sanders’ long-standing message about corruption in DC.
Twitter has played a major role in this election cycle and Bernie Sanders has been mastering the medium with scathing assessments of Clinton’s wavering views on healthcare reform, environmental concerns, trade policy, foreign policy, and more.  Again, though, these are policies.  Sharing Clinton’s shifting views on single-payer healthcare, for example, by posting old photos and videos in which she fights hard for the same plan Sanders backs today, cannot possibly be considered a personal attack.
Policy is not personal.  Policy is the foundation on which we should build support for our next president.  Attempting to take policy discussions off the table by misrepresenting them as personal attacks threatens to undermine the entire process.  If we can’t talk policy, what are we going to talk about?  Should we just go completely bonkers and base our votes on which candidate has the most passionate (and occasionally disrespectful) supporters, completely ignoring the actual platforms of each candidate?



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