Boston Globe columnist talks presidential candidate concerns

By Evan Walsh, Transcript Reporter

Some of those who watched the first presidential debate may have been asking themselves: how did we get Donald Trump (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) as our presidential nominees?

Michael Cohen, a columnist for the Boston Globe and World Review, addressed the concerns ordinary Americans have about the candidates before students and faculty Wednesday, Sept. 21 in Merrick Hall.

Cohen, who has covered both Clinton and Trumps respective campaigns for the last 15 months, began with a quote from William Faulkner about history repeating itself: The past is not dead, its not even past.”

He then elaborated on those similarities this years election shares with another famous, though controversial, election year: 1968.

According to Cohen, Trump, the GOPs nominee for president is not unlike Alabamas George Wallace, a Dixiecrat, who divided the Democratic party prior to the General Election of 1968.

Both Trump and Wallace, considered outsiders to Washingtons establishment politics, have a history of using strong but hateful rhetoric to appeal to the interests of their constituents.

Citing his most recent publication, “American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division,” Cohen criticized the explicitly racist and misogynistic overtures coming from Trump and his supporters.

When it comes to Trump, its not a matter of issues or ideology; its about fearexistential fears,Cohen said.

Brian Goldaber, a politics and government major, said he enjoyed Cohens analysis and felt Cohens comparisons between Wallace and Trump were appropriate.

“They both capture a sense of frustration with the established political order and they overtly say a lot of things that conventional politicians would never say,Goldaber said.

Jenny Holland, assistant professor of politics and government, moderated the event and led a Q&A once Cohen concluded his speech.

One audience member, soliciting Cohens opinion on genders impact on the race, wanted to know how Trump supporters [those hes met while covering the campaign] have responded when they were asked about the possibility of the first ever female presidency.

Tyler Iffland, who remains unsure of which candidate he prefers, said he does not think that gender matters as much as each candidates lack of transparency.

“How can I confidently vote for Clinton when she cant release her emails, and how can I confidently vote for Trump if hes hiding his tax returns?Iffland said.

Members of the Arneson Institute for Practical Politics and Public Affairs organized the lecture.


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