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Cory Booker Finds His Moment

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How do you answer hatred? How should you respond when your political opponents assault you with insult, stereotype and contempt? That’s the moral question we all have to answer during this election campaign.

Hatred has become the defining emotion of our political life. As my colleague Thomas B. Edsall reported last week, according to a recent paper, 42 percent of the people in each party regard their opposition as “downright evil.” Nearly 20 percent of both Democrats and Republicans believe that their political adversaries “lack the traits to be considered fully human — they behave like animals.” Roughly 20 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans say that the world would be better off if large numbers of the other party died.

Some people believe that fire can be fought only with fire. We’ve got to face the world as it is. If the other side is going after you with full viciousness, you’ve got to find a leader who can do the same to them. This is a knife fight. We need a brawler.

This is the argument white evangelicals made in deciding to back Donald Trump. We’re under siege. He’ll fight for us.

And this is the argument many of the Democratic campaigns are already making. Republicans are irredeemable. Racism is ubiquitous. Capitalist greed is ubiquitous. We need someone who can........

© The New York Times